Skip to main content

Full text of "Treatise On Instrumentation"

See other formats


public library 

! T : i L ) t , "S S Li ? “ Cl ( ■ f 1 i V 
:)n p r : n I j I K i n cjf hr-rciTy c.irci. 

r - - p r T [ 1 ^ s I r ^ cl 

M ■ ■ p : or r K i r 'i u t.* promptly- 
' 1 r i f ; y p ; r s c : r t ^ r r - s p c ) s i b I e for 

i i ■ ; r: : > k s , r t ■ V : r'l r ci . 1 1 i r t ■ s , ;:) m I u r o s 








Copyright, 1948, by 





FOREWORD by R. Strauss 1 


The Instruments 1 


The Violin 2 

The Viola 60 

The Viola d'Amore 76 

The Viola da Gamba 76 

The Violoncello 77 

The Double-Bass 96 


The Harp 187 

The Guitar 145 

The Mandolin 151 

The Pianoforte 152 



The Oboe 168 

•The Oboe d'amore 188 

The English Horn 188 

The Bassoon 189 

The Tenoroon (Basson Quinte) 198 

The Double-Bassoon 198 

Clarinets 199 

The Alto Clarinet 222 

The Bass Clarinet 222 

The Basset-Hom 226 


The Flute 227 

The Piccolo 286 

The Alto Flute 248 


The Organ 248 


The French Horn 247 

The Valve Horn 259 

The Trumpet 281 

The Comet 292 

The Trombones 298 

The Tubas 880 

The Bugle 886 

The Key Bugle' 886 

The Valve Bugle 887 

The Bass Ophicleide 887 

The Alto Ophicleide 888 

The Double-Bass Ophicleide 888 

The Bombardon 888 

The Bass Tuba 889 


with Mouthpiece 

The Serpent 848 

The Russian Bassoon 848 



Kettledrums 870 

Bells 886 

Sets of small bells 888 

The Glockenspiel 888 

The Keyboard Harmonica (Glass Harmonica) ... .891 

The AncieiU Cymbals 891 

The Bass Drum 891 

The Cymbals 892 

The Gong 895 

The Tambourine 896 

The Side Drum 897 

The Tenor Drum 897 

The Triangle 897 

The Crescent 899 


The Saxophones 400 

Saxhorns 400 

Saxotrombas 401 

The Saxtubas 401 

The Concertina 401 

The Melodium Organ 408 

Pianofortes and Melodiums with prolonged sounds. .404 

The Octobass 405 



GLOSSARY of German terms and phrases u^d in 

the full-score examples 421 

INDEX 422 


When I was asked by the publishers to enlarge and 
revise the “Treatise on Instrumentation” by Hector 
Berlioz, I thoight at first that the masterwork of the 
great Frenchman did not need such help to be even 
today a source of enjoyment and stimulation for all 
musicians. It appeared to me complete in itself and 
full of ingenious visions, whose realization by Richard 
Wagner is obvious to every connoisseur. 

Upon closer study, however, I could not help notic- 
ing tire gaps in this work, completed in the middle of 
the last century. I became aware of the danger that 
important parts of Berlioz’ work might be considered 
obsolete and that its lasting value might therefore be 
overlooked, especially since many other excellent books 
had developed the subject in the meantime with scien- 
tific accuracy (particularly the textbook on instrumen- 
tation by the outstanding Belgian authority, Gevaert). 

Berlioz was the first to arrange and organize this 
complicated subject with the supreme industry of a 
collector. Yet the everlasting value of his work lies in 
the fact that he not only treated questions of mechan- 
ics, but stressed above ail the esthetic aspects of or- 
chestral technique. These permanent qualities in the 
work and its prophetic power, which in a few lines 
often gives the careful reader a vision of the whole 
Wigner, may justify this revision. To keep Berlioz’ 
work alive even for the superficial reader, it was nec- 
essary to supplement technical details and to point out 
new achievements, especially in Wagner’s work. 

The respect for Berlioz* completely unified master- 
work demanded that nothing ^ changed in his text 
(with the sole exception of Ae chapter on the organ, 
which was partly re\'ised and enlarged by Prof. Ph. 
Wolfrum in' accordance with latest developments). 
My additions are indicated by an undulating line at 
the side of the text. There is always an abundance of 
material for musical examples; hence I have avoided 
important and interesting examples which were quoted 
by Gevaert. f7«»vaprt*s l^k contains so much worth 
reading concerning the technique and acoustics of 
instruments that I should urgently recommend its 
study in addition to Berlioz’ work. 

In the art of instrumentation, as in other arts, the 
question of theoretical books is highly problematic. 
I claim that a musician with talent for composition, 
who plays the violin or some wind instrument in an 
orchestra, will have more skill in instrumentation 
Kwithout any knowledge of its theory) than the 
equally gifted pianist or music critic who has dili- 
gently studied textbooks, but has never come closer 
to orchestral instruments than the first row of a con- 
cert hall. 

Therefore, if the student wants to achieve more in 
the art of instrumentation than just writing a few 
pleasant-sounding pieces (“excellently scored”, as our 
critics would call them), and if he has no opportunity 
to conduct an orchestra and be in daily contact with 
its magif. powers, then he diould not only study the 

scores of the great masters, but above all ask instru- 
mentalists of all kinds to familiarize him wtith the 
exact technique of their instruments and with the 
timbre of their registen. He should, so to speak, try 
to find out the secrets of the orchestra tuning-room. 
There are improvements which an inventive player 
may have discovered for his mouthpiece, for the ar- 
rangement of the valves, for other details in the con- 
struction or the material of his instrument, technical 
tricks, devised in an idle hour for the player’s own 
amusement. All this may open unexpected vistas to a 
creator in search of new forms of expression for new 
ideas. It may be more valuable for progress than any 
treatise which is primarily based on the achievements 
of the past. 

Thus, the practical instrumentalist, through his 
skill, stimulates the composer to new ideas. Great 
ideas, on the other hand, which at first do not seem 
feasible, gradually lift the ambitious instrumentalist 
to their level. They have had the greatest influence on 
pngress in the construction of instruments, on im- 
provements in their technique, and on the enrichment 
of their expressive possibilities. 

The development of the orchestra until the appear- 
ance of Berlioz is sufficiently known and need not 
detain us here too long. I ^ould like to refer the 
reader to Richard Winner’s magnificent interpreta- 
tions in his writings, especially in “Opera and Drama”. 
It would not be appropriate to try to cover here in a 
few lines a great chapter m the history of music and 
to show in detail and with all its fine articulations an 
organic development which was influenced by thou- 
sands of seeds, stimuli, ihistakes and successes. All I 
can venture to give here is a brief, compressed survey. 
I trust the sympathetic reader will understand my in- 
tention: not to offer an esthetic system, cleanly di- 
vided into separate categories like so many drawers, 
but simply to develop certain important points, leav- 
ing it to the educated reader to fill in the connecting 
details with the help of his own knowledge and of his 
feelings. With this reservation, I should like to follow 
the two main roads of orchestral development from 
Handel, Gluck and Haydn to Wagner. I might be 
permitted to call them in brief the symphonic (poly- 
phonic) and the dramatic (homophonic) roads. 

The origin of the symphonic orchestra is to be 
found mainly in Haydn’s and Mozart’s striig quar- 
tets (as well as in Bach’s organ fugues). The sym- 
phonic works of these two masters reveal in their 
style, in their themes, melodies and figurations the 
character of the striig quarte’t with all its. polyphonic 
possibilities. One might almost call them string quar- 
tets with obbligato w'ood-wind and noise instruments 
to reinforce the tutti (French horns, trumpets, kettle- 

In spite of the greater number of wind instruments 
used in his Fiftii and Ninth Symphonies, even Bect- 



hoven cannot hide the mark of chamber music. In 
Beethoven, more than in Haydn and Mozart, the 
spirit of the piano injects its characteristic elements — 
the same spirit which later completely dominates 
Schiimann*s and Brahms* orchesti^ works (unfor- 
tunately, not always to their advantage or to the 
listener’s enjoyment) . Only Liszt with his instinct for 
tone colors succeeded in filling this spirit of the piano 
in the orchestra with new poetic life. 

The beautiful melodic contours of the four equally 
important parts in the classical string quartet attained 
their highest freedom, worthy of Bach’s choral polyph- 
ony, in Beethoven’s last ten quartets. There is none 
of this freedom in Beethoven’s nine symphonies. But 
Wagner found in it the style for his “Tristan” and 
“Meistersinger^* orchestra; he owes to it the unheard- 
of, miraculous sounds of his string quintet. 

It should be added, of course, that the melodic de- 
velopment from Haydn to Beethoven automatically 
raised the technical demands upon the orchestra and 
stimulated coloristic effects alien to the style of cham- 
ber music. Thus the orchestra approached more and 
more the second road of development, which we have 
already named the dramatic one. 

Handel and Haydn, as well as Gluck in his operas, 
consciously stressed the coloristic elements in their pre- 
dominantly hom'ophonic style (which our dear, easy- 
going opera audiences even today prefer to polyph- 
ony). It was their aim to reinforce poetry and stage 
by the expressive fprees of the orchestra. This trans- 
formed the choir oi instruments gradually into sensi- 
tive groups and finally into “speaking” individuals. 

The subjects chosen by the composers of the Ro- 
mantic School, especially Weber (in “Freischuetz”, 
“Oberon”, “Euryanthe”), led to further discoveries 
in this direction. The genius of Richard Wagner 
finally achieved a synthesis of the two directions. He 
combined the symphonic (polyphonic) technique of 
composition and orchestration with the rich expressive 
resources of the dramatic (homophonic) style. 

Hector Berlioz* aim may have been the same. At 
the risk of being misunderstood, onp might say in 
short that he was not dramatic enough for the stage, 
md not symphonic eno\^h for the concert hall. Still, 
in his attempt to combine stage and concert hall he 
discovered new and splendid expressive resources for 
the orchestra. To be sure, he failed to justify his use 
of dramatic effects in symphonic works by coining his 
ideas in a dramatic form (which is impossible without 
rich polyphony) ; his works were always lyric or epic. 
But he was the first to derive his inspiration consist- 
ently from the character of the orchestral instruments. 
Endowed with a special gift for conceiving new com- 
binations of sound, he discovered many new coloristic 
possibilities and subtle shadings. 

No doubt this bold innovator, so ingenious in blend- 
ing colors, Ais real creator of die modem orchestra 
had no feeling at all for polyphony. We do not know 
whether he was acquainted with the polyphonic mys- 
teries of J. S. Bach’s miraculous scores. But it is cer- 
tain that his, musically speaking, somewhat primitive 
sense of melody lacked the understanding for polyph- 
ony,^ the culmination of musical genius, which we 
admm in Bach’s cantatas, in BeeAoven’s last quar- 
tets, _ in the poetic construction of the third act of 
“Tristm”, as the highest emanation of an unrestrained 
mdodic wealth. And only truly meaningful polyphony 
can disclose the loftiest tone-miracles of the orchestra. 

A score with awkward or just indifferent inner parts 
and basses will rarely lack a certain harshness; it will 
never have the brilliant sonority of a piece in whiA 
the second wind instruments, the second violins, violas, 
violoncelli and basses also take part in the soulful 
enunciation of beautifully curved melodic lines. This 
is the secret of the wonderful tone-poetry in the scores 
of “Tristan” and “Meistersinger^* as well as of the 
“Siegfried Idyll”, which was written for “small or- 
chestra”. On the other hand, even Berlioz* orchestral 
dramas, constructed with such mastery of sound, as 
well as Weber's and Liszt’s scores show by the brittle- 
ness of their colors that the choir of accompanying 
and filling parts was not deemed worthy of melodic 
independence by the composer; (and each of these 
masters was, in his way, a great instmmental poet and 
interpreter of orchestral colors) . Hence the conductor 
cannot achieve that spiritual participation of all parts 
in the whole which is indispensable for producing a 
uniformly warm sound. 

The superiority of Wagner, who perfected the mod- 
em orchestra, over Berlioz, who created it, is usually 
said to consist exclusively in the more profound mean- 
ing of his poetic and musical ideas. Yet there arc three 
technical points which should be stressed (of course 
with reasonable reservations), for they are the basis 
for the perfection of WagnePs ideas in the modem 
orchestra: first, the employment of the richest poly- 
phonic style; secondly, the accomplishment of this 
through the invention and introduction of the valve 
horn; thirdly, taking over the virtuoso technique of 
the solo-concerto for all instruments of the orchestra 
(Beethoven already required this in his last string 
quartets, but not in his symphonies). 

Thus, Richard Wagner’s scores are the alpha and 
omega of my additions to this work; they embody the 
only important progress in the art of instrumentation 
since Berlioz. But I must warn the student to ap- 
proach this study with great caution. Generally the 
score of “Lohengrin” should be considered a basic 
textbook for the advanced student; only after study- 
ing it thoroughly may he proceed to the polyphony of 
“Meistersinger” and “Tristan”, and to the fairy-tale 
world of the “Ring”. Esthetxcally, the treatment of 
the wind instruments in “Lohengrin” is the apex .of 
true perfection, never before reached. The so-called 
third wood wind (English horn and bass clarinet), 
added for the first time, are employed here in mani- 
fold combinations of sound. The second, third and 
fourth horns, the trumpets and trombones have al- 
ready attained polyphonic independence. The doubling 
of melodic parts, so characteristic for Wagner, is used 
with a sure sense for tonal balance and for beauty of 
sound, which even today arouses deep admiration. I 
particularly recommend the study of the scene be- 
tween Ortrud and Telramund at the beginning of 
the second act; the wonderful wood-wind passage 
when Elsa appears on the terrace; the Procession to 
the Minster; and the end of the second act, where 
Wagner succeeds in drawing orgsm sounds from the 
orchestra, which even surpass the “king of the instru- 

But before the beginner in the technique of com- 
position and instrumentation starts his first timid 
swimming exercises in the stormy sea of the orchestra, 
he must be warned against one danger: the phenom- 
enal sound combinations which a Berlioz or Wagner 


drew from the orchestra must not be misused. These 
masters used them for giving expression to unheard-of, 
great, poetic ideas, feelings and pictures of nature; 
they must not be reduced to the common property 
of bunglers, like a child’s toy. I wish it were possible 
to force everybody desirous of attempting orchestral 
composition to start his career with a number of 
string quartets. These string quartets he 'should have 
to submit to the judgment of two violinists, a violist 
and a cellist. If the four instrumentalists declare, “yes, 
this is well set for the instruments”, then the disciple 
of the muses may follow his impulse to write for or- 
chestra (at first preferably for a small one). Finally, 
when the “young master” can no longer contain his 
urge for the large orchestra, he should compare Wag- 
ner’s eleven scores with each other. Let him observe 
how each of these works has its own combination of 
instruments, its own orchestral style; how each says 


what it wants to say in the simplest pos.sible way, and 
how this noble moderation in the use of means is to 
be found in all of them. On the other hand, let him 
be warned against the procedure of one modem com- 
poser who once showed me the score of a comedy 
overture, in which the four “Nibelung” tubas carried 
on a most lively dance with the rest of the brass — 
simply as reinforcement of the tutti. Dismayed, I 
asked the author — otherwise an excellent, highly edu- 
cated musician — what business the tubas had in this 
gay overture. Had not Wagner really “invented” them 
with such wisdom and sure imagination to depict the 
somber world of the Nibelui^? He answered quite 
innocently: “Why, nowadays every’ major orchestra 
has tubas; why should I not use them?” That silenced 
me; this man was beyond help. 

Iferlin, Christmas 1904. „ . , , « 

’ Richard Strauss 





In no period of music history has Instrumentation 
been discussed so much as at present. This was prob- 
ably due to the swift development of this branch of 
art in recent times; perhaps also to the great amount 
of criticism^ of different theories and contradictory 
opinions^ for which the most inferior compositions fre- 
quently servfed as a pretext. Nowadays a great deal of 
attention is paid to the art of instrumentation, which 
was still imknown at the beginning of the 18th cen- 
tury; only sixty years ago* its rise was vigorously 
opposed even by supposedly true friends of music. In 
more recent times musical progress has again been 
obstructed, but in a different way. This need not sur- 
prise us; it has always been thus. 

At first a succession of consonant chords, with a few 
suspensions here and there, was considered “music”. 
When later Monteverde dared to introduce the dom- 
inant seventh chord without preparation, he was vio- 
lently blamed and abused for this innovation. In spite 
of all this, the chord was soon generally accepted; and 
so-called learned composers eventually came to look 
down with contempt upon any harmonic sequence 
which was simple, clear and natural. They admitted 
only compositions which, from beginning to end, 
abounded in the harshest dissonances (minor and 
major seconds, sevenths, ninths, etc.). That these 
chords were used without reason or method did not 
matter; it almost seemed as if there were only one 
intention: to make this music as impleasant as pos- 
sible to the ear. These musicians took a fancy to dis- 
sonant chords, as certain animals prefer salt, prickly 
plants or thorny shrubs. What originally was mere 
reaction had grown into exaggeration. 

Melody did not exist’ in these supposedly beautiful 
musical combinations. Yet, when it gradually started 
appearing here and there, people decried the decline 
and ruin of art and of its sacred rules; they believed 
Aat everything was lost. But in the course of trnie 
melody gained its place, and the usual exaggerations 
did not fail to appear. Soon there were fanatics of 
melody who abhorred any piece of music in more 
than three voice-parts. Some even demanded that the 

melody should be accompanied only by a bass. Ap- 
parently they wanted to give the hearer the pleasure 
of guessing Ae missing inner voices. Others went still 
furi^er and rejected any kind of accompaniment; to 
them, harmony was a barbarous invention. 

Then came modulation's turn. At the time when 
modulation was limited to nearly-related keys, the first 
who ventured into more distant keys were censured- 
One mi^t have expected this. Whatever the effect of 
these new modulations, the masters rejected them vig- 
orously. The innovator pleaded vainly: “Listen to it 
attentively; convince yourselves how smoothly it is 
introduced, how well prepared, how skillfully linked 
with the preceding and following passs^es, and how 
wonderful it sounds!” “That does not matteri^ was 
the answer; “this modulation is prohibited and that’s 
why it cannot be used.” However, modulations into 
distant keys soon appeared in important works, pro- 
ducing effects as felicitous as they were unexpected. 
Almost immediately a new kind of pedantry arose: 
there were people who considered any modulation to 
the dominant a weakness; even in the simplest rondo 
they sauntered gaily from G major to major. 

By and by, time restored a reasonable balance. Peo- 
ple learned to distinguish use from misiise, reactionary 
vanity from stupidity and obstinacy. Concerning har- 
mony, melody and modulation, there is now general 
agreement to -approve whatever produces a good ef- 
fect, and to reject what has a poor effect. Even the 
authority of a hundred old men (be they as old as a 
hundred and twenty years) will not persuade us that 
what is ugly, is beautiful; and what is beautiful, ugly. 

Concerning instrumentation, expression and rhythm, 
the situation is still different. Their turn came much 
later for being observed, rejected, admitted, limited, 
liberated and exaggerated. They have not as yet 
reached the stage of development achieved by the 
other branches of music. We can only state that in- 
strumentation leads the others and is close to the 
stage of exaggeration. 

Much time is needed to find the oceans of music; 
still more, to learn how to navigate in them. 


Any sonorous body employed by a composer is a 
musical instrument. The following is a list of means 
available at present. 

1. Stringed instruments. 

a. Strings set in vibration by a bow: Violin, Viola, 

Viola d’amore, \^loncello. Double-bass. 

b. Strings plucked: Harp, Guitar, Mandolin. 

c. With keylxxurd': Pianoforte. 

2. Wind instruments. 

a. With reeds: Oboe, English horn. Bassoon, 

Tenoroon (Basson quinte). Double bassoon. 
Clarinet, Basset-hom, Bass clarinet. Saxo- 
phone, etc. 

b. Without reeds: Flute (large and small). 

c. With keyboard: Organ, Melodium (Amer- 

ican organ), Harmonium, Concertina. 

d. Brass instruments, with mouthpiece: French 

horn. Trumpet, Comet, Bugle, Trombone, 
Ophicleide, Bombardon, Bass tuba. 

'‘An indleatioiii In this vork xcte to the middle of the 19th eentonr* 



e. Wooden instruments, with mouthpiece: Rus- 

sian bassoon. Serpent. 

f. Voices of men, women, children, and artificial 

sopranos and altos. 

3. Percussion instruments. 

a. With definite pitch: Kettledrum, Ancient cym- 

bal, Chime, Glockenspiel, Keyboard har- 
monica, Bells. 

b. With indefinite pitch, producing only noises of 

different timbre: Drum, Bass drum, Tam- 
bourine, Cymbals, Triangle, Gong, Crescent. 
J To this list are now to be added: 

\ • To 1 b: Zither. 

< To 2 a: Oboe d’amore, Double-bass oboe, 
\ Heckelphon, Double-bass clarinet. 

\ To 2 b: Alto flute. 

> To 2 d: Tuba in F, Tuba in Bb, Euphonium 

\ (Barytone). 

? To 3 a: Xylophone, Celesta. 

? To 3 b; Birch rod. Small bells. 

The art of instrumentation consists in the employ- 
ment of these sound elements: either to give a par- 
ticular color to melody, harmony and rhythm; or — 
independently of these three great musical forces — ^to 
produce special effects (which may, or may not, serve 
some purpose of expression). 

Considered in its poetical aspect, this art can be 

taught as little as the art of inventing beautiful melo- 
dies, beautiful chord successions, and powerful rhyth- 
mical forms. One can only learn what is suitable for 
the various instruments, what is practicable or not, 
what is easy or difficult, what is weak or sonorous. It 
can also be indicated that one instrument is more 
appropriate than another for creating certain effects 
or expressing certain feelings. But as for their blend- 
ing in groups, in small orchestras or laige masses; as 
for uniting and combining them so that the tone of 
some instruments is modified by that of others, pro- 
ducing an ensemble tone unobtainable by one instru- 
ment or by a group of similar instruments: all this 
can be demonstrated only by studying the achieve- 
ments realized in the works of the masters and by 
analyzing their methods. Their results can doubtless 
be modified in a thousand ways, good or bad, by 
composers with similar aims. 

The object of this woric is, therefore, to indicate 
the range of the instruments and certain features of 
their mechanism; then to examine the nature of their 
timbre, their peculiar character and range of ex~ 
pression — ^matters greatly neglected up to now; and 
finally to study the best known methods for combining 
them appropriately. To go beyond this would mean 
to enter the realm of creative inspiration where only 
a genius can roam and make Us own discoveries. 

Stringed Instruments 

The Violin 

The four strings of the violin are usually tuned in 

' first string 
^ seoand string 

— third strinir 

^ fourth strinfl: 

The highest string, E, is generally known as uie 

These strings are called open strings if the fingers 
of the left hand do not modify the sound by shorten- 
ing the part of the string which is set in vibration by 
the bow. The notes to bcr played on an open string 
are indicated by a zero (0) placed above or below 

Some great virtuosos and composers have deviated 
from this system of tuning the violin. Ps^nini raised 
all strings a semitone in order to give more brilliance 
to the instrument: J? Consequently, he 

transposed the solo fo playing for in- 
stance in D when the oi^estra played 

in Eb, or in A when the orchestra played in Bb. Open 
strings being more sonorous than those stopped by 
fingers, he could thus frequently use them also in keys 
in which they would otherwise not be possible. De 
B£riot frequently raised only the G-string a semitone 
in his concertos. Baillot, on the other hand, scxnetimes 
tuned the G-stiing a semitone lower for the sake of 
tender or somber effects. Winter, for the same reason, 

used even the lower F instead of G, 

In view of the high degree of skill attained nowa- 
days by our young violinists, the violin may be assigned 
the following range in a good and fully staffed or- 

Great .virtuosos carry the range several tones higher. 
By means of harmonics considerably higher notes can 
be reached, even in the orchestra (more about this 
below) . 

( In the meantime this range 
i has been frequently ex- 
> tended in 1^' • 'rchcbtra to 

Trills are practicable on all steps of this far-ranging 
scale of three and a half octaves. But those on the 
three highest notes, A, B, C, are very difficult; it is 
advisable not to use them in the orchestra. 

J See the wonderful trill passage in the third act 
s of “Siegfried” during Bruexinhflde’s awakening as 
j she looib into the light of the sun, enchanted and 
I at the same time blinded by the unwonted radi- 
f ance (Example 1). 

r rffro 

I I \ 



T^e minor trill on the foiirth string between G and stopping on two strings, arc well suited, both in torte 

A ^ to be avoided as nmch as possible; it is harsh and in piano, to melodic phrases as well as to all 

and has an unpleasant effect. kinds of accompaniments and tremolos. 

The chords of three and four notes, however, are 
not of a good effect w'hen played piano. They have 
vitality only in forte; for then only can the bow strike 
the strings together and make them sound well simul- 
taneously. It should not be forgotten that in these 
Numerous chords^ of two, three and four notes can three and four-part chords two tones at most can be 

be played on the violin, simultaneously or arpeggio; sustained, the bow having to quit the others as soon 

they vary considerably in their effect. as they are struck. In a moderate or slow tempo it is 

Chords of two notes, produced by so-callcd double therefore useless to write: 


for only the two upper notes can be sustained. In this case it is better to write 


Of course, between the low G and D all chords are obtained in the orchestra only by dividing the violins, 

impossible since there is only one string (G) to pro- This division is indicated in Italian by divisi or a due, 

duce the two tones. Should it be necessary to use in French by divisis or a deux, in German by geteilt, 

chords at this extreme end of the scale, they can be written over the passage; 

The violins are then divided, one group playing the seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths and 
imper and the other the lower part. Starting from the octaves are playable; but they become progressively 

third (D) string upward, all words of two notes in more difiScult on the two higher strings. 

Indadina the diromatio interrala 


Occasionally one note is played on t^o strings 
simultaneously. It is advisable to limit this effect to 
D, A and E. Only these three notes are easy to ex- 
ecute on two strings; they have a different timbre on 
each and a full tone, due to the open string: 

Generally such leaps can be used only if the two 
higher notes and the two lower notes fonn one chord 
which could also be played together, for instance: 

This is possible be- 
cause the four notes 
can also be played 
simultaneously : 

There is no open string in the other unisons: 


In the following example the four notes could be 
played simultaneously only with considerable diffi- 
culty (except in the last chord). Nevertheless, the 
leap is here easy because the two lower notes are 
played on open strings, the two upper ones with the 
first and third fingers: 

Their execution is rather diflScult and, hence, their 
intonation rarely exact. 

A lower string can cross a higher open string if 
it is given an ascending movement while the open 
string continues in the manner of a pedal-point: 

Ineludinff the diromatie iotervala 

3 - P 

The D remains open while the ascending scale is 
played on the foukh string throughout. 

Ninths and tenths are possible, but far less easy 
than the preceding intend. It is better to write 
them for the orchestra only if the lower string re- 
mains open; in this case they offer no difficulty: 

Indiidfag tbe ehromatic intervals 

Leaps between double stops are to be avoided be- 
cause they are extremely difficult if not impossible. 
They demand too great a change in the position of 
the hand: 

Among the chords of three and especiallly four 
notes those are always the best and most sonorous 
which contain most open strings. I consider it even 
better to confine ones^ to chords of three notes if 
no open string is available for the four-part chord. 

The following lists furnish a summary of the most 
frequently used, most sonorous and least difficult 
chords of this kind: 

Easy in a moderate tempo 

All sequences of chords combined in this fashion 
are not difficult. They can also be executed in arpeg- 

gio, i.e. consecutively; particularly in pianissimo this 
often creates the most agreeable effects: 

There are furthermore combinations similar to 
those above, in which the four notes could be played 
simultaneously only with great difficulty, whereas they 
are easily executed in arpeggio by means of the first 

or second fingers passing from the fourth string to 
the first in order to play the lowest and then the high- 
est note: 

By omitting the lowest or highest notes in the pre- 
ceding examples, one obtains as many three-part 
chords. To these are to be added the chords which 

result from combining the various tones of the E- 
string with the two open center strings, or those of 
the E and A-strix^ with the open D-string: 

If it is desired to strike one isolated D-minor or. 
major chord, it is not advisable to choose the position 
marked NB in the foregoing example because it is too 
difficult without similar chords preceding it. ^It is 
better to use the following position, 
which is easy to play and more sonorous 
because of the two open strings: 

The preceding examples show that all three-part 
chords are possible on the violin if one takes care, 
in those without open strings, to spread their tones 
sufficiently to allow intervals of a fifth or sixth be- 
tween them. The sixth may be placed either above 
or below, or both. 




Sequences of diminished seventh chords are 
easy because the fingering remains the same while 

the chord changes to the next position: 



Certain chords of three notes are practicable in two 
ways, and it is better to choose the one containing an 
open string, for instance: 


Double trills in thirds can be executed, starting 
from the low Bb: 

But as they are moxe difficult than simple trills and 
the same effect can be obtained by dividing the vio- 
lins, it is usually advisable to avoid them in the 

The tremolo (simple or double) produces various 
excellent effects. It expresses unrest, excitement, ter- 
ror in all nuances of piano, mezzoforte or fortissimo 
if it is employed on one or two of the three strings, 
G, D, A, and if it is not carried much above ihe 
middle Bb: 

(DouUe stops) 


The tremolo was used with the greatest effect by 
Weber and Wagner, perhaps most significantly in 

the first act of “Walkuere” with Siegmund’s call, 
“Waelse, Waelse!** (Example 2.) 

No. 2. Walkuere, Act I. 


Horn in u. 




Vic. alleia. 


■MiSSSSLrS mS * 



. m 


1 |f u vSSSbbSShSS 



Z Vloelli. 





2 Ob. 


in F. 

1 Tronop. 

8 Po8. 




Viol. I. 




BsdieiistaouneSy ’wdAo Sie^ndes 
Blidibeaelohnet hattOyUnd an der 
man Jetst deaUicih Mncn Schwart- 

B--F--jir-U I^Y ■'•■■ [I'lr I I f - 

odt^Sn-go, briditiiilrliervqrTOte das Hera nocih begt? Was 



What a magnificent idea is the picture of the | by the wind is wonderfully depicted by the follow- 

monotonously raging storm at the beginning of 7 ing sound-conception (Example 3). 

“Walkuere”. The whipping of the rain and hail 

No. 3. Walkuere, Beginning 

Stfipmisch. Wagner. 



















». 9 







15 & 

The tremolo has a stormy and vehement character 
on the medium tones of the E and A-strings in fortis- 

^ It becomes ethereal and seraphic when 
employed in several voices and pianissimo 
on the high tones of the E-string: 

It may be mentioned here that, while the violins 
in the orchestra are customarily divided into two 
groups (First and Second Violins), there is no reason 
why these groups should not be subdivided again into 
two or three parts according to the aim the composer 
wants to achieve. Occasionally the violins can be di- 
vided .even into eight groups, either by setting off 
eight solo violins, playing eight individual parts, 
against the solid mass, or by dividing the complete 
^t violins and second violins into four equal choirs 

I revert to the tremolo. To make its effect complete 
it is essential thaf the movement of the bow is fast 
enough to produce a real trembling or quivering. 
Therefore, tihe composer must preci^y indicate its 
execution in accordwee with the tempo of the piece; 
for the performers are always inclined to avoid any 
mode of execution which is tiring, and they would 
not fail to profit fay any latitude left to them. 

In an Allegro assai a 
tremolo indicated: 

and executed: 

is entirely sufiicient. But if in an Adagio the tremolo 
were also indicated by sixteenths, the performer 
would, of course, play strictly sixteenths; instead of 
the quivering one would hear only a heavy 
and dull repetition of tones. In this case 
it is necessary to write 
and sometimes, if the tempo is still 
slower than Adagio, even 

The tremolo on the lower and middle tones of 
the third and fourth strings in fortissimo is particu- 
larly characteristic if the tow strikes the strings near 
the bridge. In a large orchestra and if executed well 
by the players, it produces a sound similar to that of 
a rapid and powerful waterfall. This manner of ex- 
ecution is in^cated by sul ponticello. ^ 

A magnificent example of this effect can be found 
in the scene of the oracle, in the first act of ‘ Alceste” 
by Gluck. The effect of the tremolo in the second vio- 
lins and violas is reinforced by the heavy, menacing 
steps in the basses, by the blow struck from time to 
time in the first violins, by the gradual entry of the 
wind instruments, and finally by the majestic recita- 
tive which this turbulent orchestra accompanies. I 
know nothing of this kind more dramatic or more 
terrible. However, the idea to execute this tremolo 
sul ponticello cannot be ascribed to Gluck; it is not 
indicated in his score. The honor for it belongs en- 
tirely to M. Habencck, who, when rehearsing this 
wonderful scene at the Conservatoire, had the violins 
play it in this energetic fashion; its superiority in this 
case is incontrovertible. (Example 4.) 


Tout nfan-non- ce dn Dien la pre-sen - oe sn - pre*-mei ee 

GlSn - - smd kiin-d^ er tuts, dqfi er siek jsixtgs • ua-het. Der 




For certain accompaniments of a dramatic and with good effect, wthw- ©n one string: 
agitated character a broken tremolo is sometimes used 

or on two strings: 

Finally, there is a kind of tremolo which is no 
longer used, but which Gluck employed admirably 
in his recitatives. It may be called the undulating 
tremolo. It consists in playing a number of slurred 
notes on the same tone at a slow speed while the bow 
does not leave the string. In these not strictly meas- 

ured acc<Hnpaniments it is hardly possible for all the 
performers to play the same number of notes in a 
bar; some play more and some less. This difference 
causes a kind of wavering or indecision in the orches- 
tra, perfectly adapted to render the uneasiness and 
anxiety in certain scenes. Gluck wrote it thus: 

The manner of bowing is very important and 
greatly influences the sonority and expression of mo- 
tives and melodies. It must be carefully indicated ac- 

or i 4 {Tyj-.j.-i 

cording to the nature of the idea to be rendered. The 
following signs should be used: 

For detached tones {le detache ) : 

For slurring two notes: 

For extended slurs {legato ) : 

For the staccato or light d6tach6, which is executed 
over the whole length of the bow by a succession of 
small strokes, moving the bow only a little at a time: 

For the grand, broad staccato (grand ditachi has struck it vigorously (this is particularly suitable 

ports) ^ which is intended to give the string as much for pieces of a proud, magnificent character^ and of 

sonority as possible by letting it vibrate after the bow moderate speed).: 

Notes repeated two, three or four times (according tone of the violins and are suitable for various orches- 

to the tempo) give more power and vividness to the tral effects in all kinds of shadings: 

However, in phrases of a broad tempo and vigorous 
character simple notes in grand dStachS produce a 


much better effect, unless one wants to employ a real 
tremolo on each note. 


The following phrase 


I believe composers would be too meticulous if they 
indicated down-bows and up-bows in their scores (as 
it is done in violin etudes and concertos) . But if par- 
ticular lightness or power or breadth of tone is re- 
quired, the manner of execution may be indicated as 
follows: “At the point of the boV*, or “At the heel” 
(lower end of the bow), or “Whole bow on each 
note”- Likewise, “Near the bridge” or “On the finger- 
board” designate the spot close to or at a distance 
from the bridge where the bow should strike the 
strings. The metallic, somewhat rough tones produced 
near the bridge differ greatly from the soft, veiled 
tones played over the finger-board. 

; I should like to cite some practical experiences 
: regarding bowing and fingering. It is customary in 
: many or^estras to indicate uniform bowing for the 
I violins (as well as the other string instruments). 

: Of course, the resulting evenness cf bowing gives 
: elegance to the playing of the violin group and is 
restful to the eyes of the audience. Nevertheless, I 
would not recommend using this device indiscrim- 
inately, for the following reasons. 

To curb the different temperaments in bowing 
means to destroy the soulful expression in the ren- 
dering of a melody. One violinist, in accordance 
with his feelings and technical skill, may need four 
strokes of the bow to play a melody expressively; 
another violinist, only two. If the first one is forc^ 
to play this melody also with two strokes, his per- 
formance will obviously lose its intensity and be- 
come poor and dull. Furthermore, if a composer 
has indicated one bow for a phrase of, let us say, 
four or more bars, its broad character would be 
destroyed if it were broken up uniformly into four 
to six parts by all violinists. In such cases it is my 
principle to follow strictly the composer’s phrase- 
marks (breathing-marks) only at the beginning 
and end of a phrase; within the phrase I let each 
violinist change the bow as he wishes. 

For composers it is very important to consider 
carefully the problem of up-bows and down-bows 
when they want to achieve certain nuances. For 
instance, during the first rehearsal of my “Sinfonia 
Domcstica” in New York the theme 

did not produce the intended impression of serene 
gaiety with the indicated bowing, but soimded 

lame and dull. At last I conceived the idea of hav- 
ing it played in this way: 

At once the theme had the cheerfulness desired by 
me, the dot on the second and fourth eighths was 
observed automatically, and the passage, whether 
in upper or inner parts or in the bass, sparkled 
t^ugh the whole orchestra with the same inten- 
sity- I had the second theme of the piece phrased 
accordingly and obtained the same effect: 

Therefore, dear fellow composers, watch the up- 
tow and down-tow! A small bowing-mark at the 
right place is often more effective than the most elo- 

quent expression marks such as “gay”, “grazioso”, 
“spiritecT’, “smiling”, “defiant”, “furious” etc. Our 
worthy instrumentalists and their dear conductors 
pay very little attention to them. 

As to fingering, I found, when rehearsing Berlioz’ 
^‘F^te chez Capulet”, that the beginning of the 
partly chromatic phrase for the violixis never 
sounded quite clear as long as but one violinist 
played the chromatic scale by sliding up or down 
with his finger. Finally I prescribed a separate 
finger for each note. At once the disturbing sounds 
caused by the sHdi^ stopped and the passage be- 
came faultless. This experience gave me the idea 
to mark this fast violin passage from my “Sin- 
fonia Domestica” 

with the following fingering: 



This passage is ateolutely unclear and blurred pose. Only in a large orchestra is its effect sufficiently 

with the usual fingering, which would be more ap- noticeable. The numerous bows quickly falling on the 

propriate for the howling of the storm in the strings produce a kind of crackling sound whicn would 

t Pastoral Symphony. be scarcely audible wdth a small number of violins. 

In a symphonic work where the terrible is com- so weak and short is the sound in this case, 

bined with the grotesque, the back of the bow has | This col legno symbolizes the snorting of the 

been used to strike the strings. This is called cot legno | horse in Liszt’s “Mazeppa”, the devilish g^iggling of 

(with the wood). Phis strange device should be em- | Mime in Wagner^s “Siegfried”. (Examples 6, 7.) 

ployed very rarely and only for a very definite pur- 

No. 6. Mazeppa 




El. FI. 

Ola Fla la 


80b. i 


Elar. Ln. 
inB. I 
in A. 

ixL B. 





• I. 












oreae* . , . 

The so-called harmonics (flageolet toaes) are pro- 
duced by touching the strings l^tly with the fingers 
of the left hand* Thereby the fingers divide the length 
of the strings at cert^ spots (the nodal points) with- 
out, however, pressing them down upon the finger- 
board. These harmonics have a peculiar of 

mysterious softness; s<nne are* very hi gh and thus 
gpready e^end the upper range of the violin. A dis- 
tinction is made between naturdl and artificial har- 
monic^. The natural harmonics are produced by 
touching lightly certain spots on the open strings. 
Those responding most ^ely and sonorously are 


listed below. The black (quarter) notes represent the 
real pitch of the harmonics; the white (whole) notes 
indicate the points touched on the open string. 


M i 



The artificial harmonics are obtained very clearly 
over the whole range of the scale by pressing the first 
filmier firmly mi the strii^ (as a kind of movaWe nut) 
and touching the indicated point on the string lightly 
with the other finger. 

^ Aetnal lunnoiiles 

The octave, lightly 

touched, produces its uni- 


This fii^pering is not easy 
and is used almost only 
on the fourth string. 

The fifth, lightly touched, 
produces its hi^ octave:" 
This fingering is - easier 
than the preceding and 
less easy than the follow- 

The fourth, lightly 
touched, produces its 
high twelfth: 

liKdQdins tlie chronuitEc 

4tik finaar, toochina thestrlnff 

* * 

^ f IT 

Igfc imser. presalns ths wtxing 

Aetna! hanaonies 

1m Anaer. prcssixiff fhe stxisic 

Aetna! harxnoniea 
Finsars tondiiiiar 


Finser preaaiBg 

This fingering is the easiest and therefore to be pre- 
ferred, except when the harmonic is the tw^A 
open string; in that case the fingering with the fifth 
is preferable. ^ it is better- to o 
Thus, to sound . d ^ P^" 

a single high B, fflE — = 

the open E-string, whose fifth lightly touched pro- 
duces its higher octave (B), sounds better than a 
string pressed down by the fct finger, as e.g.: 

, which results 
in the same 

The fingerings with a touched major or minor third 
are used very little; the harmonics produced do not 
sound well. 

The major third, lightly touched, 
produces its high double octave: 

The minor third, lightly touched, 
produces its high major seven- 

lat finger presainar 

The major sixth, lightly touched, 
produces its high twelfdi: 

This fingering is used less than 
that with the touched fourth; it 
is nevertheless quite good and fre- 
quently useful. 

I repeat, the positions with touched fourths and fifths 
are by far the most advantageous. 

Some virtuosos produce double stops in harmonics; 
but this effect is so difiScult and therefore dangerous 
that composers are to be warned against using it. 

The harmonics on the fourth string have a flute- 
like character; they are preferable for a cantabiU exe- 
cution of a slow melody. Paganini used, them with 
wonderful success in the prayer from “Moses”. The 
harmonics on the other strings become increas^ly 
more delicate and soft as they rise in pitch- This, as 
well as their crystalline sound, makes them especially 
appropriate for those chords which may be called 
fairy-like: harmonic effects which fill our imagination 
with radiant dreams and conjure the most delicate 
images of a poetic, supernatural world, ^though bur 
young violinists have become quite familiar with these 
effects, they should not be used in fast movements or 
at least not in rapid successions of notes if their per- 
fect execution is to be ensured. 

W course, the composer can employ them in two, 
three or four parts according to the number of violin 
parts. The effect of such sustained chords is very im- 
pressive if they are warranted by the subject ci the 
piece and well combined with the rest of the orch^ 
tra. I have used such chords for the first time, in 
three parts, in the scherzo of a symphony,^ sustained 
above a fourth violin part not in harmcxiics, which 
trills continuously on the lowest note. The extraordi- 
nary delicacy of the harmonics is enhanced here by 
the use of mutes; thus softened they rise to the ex- 
treme heights of the musical scale, which could hardly 
be reached by ordinary tones. (Example 8.) 




In ■writing such chords in harmonics, it is absolutely 
necessary to indicate by notes of different size and 
shape, placed one above the other: the note for the 
finger touching the string and that of the actual har- 
monic (bn open strings) ; and the note for the press- 
ing finger^ the touching finger and the actual harmonic 
(in the other cases). This sometimes results in three 
notes for a single tone, but without this precaution 
the execution might ea^y become a hod^podge, in 
which even the composer would have difficulty to 
recognize his own intentions. 

This is no longer necessary. The sign 0 above 
the note (the actual pitch) is now sufficient to in- 
i dicate the execution in harmonics. The older no- 
' tation makes the score too complicated. 

Mutes (sordines) are small wooden devices which 
are placed on the bridge of string instruments in order 
to diminish their volume of sound. They give the in- 
strument at the same time a mournful, mysterious and 
soft expression, which is frequently and felicitously 
used in all styles of music. Mutes are usually employed 
in slow movements; but they are just as appropriate 
for fast and light pieces or for accompaniments in 
quick rhythms if the character of the piece demands 
them. Gluck proved this admirably in his sublime 
monologue of Alceste (Italian version), “Chi mi 
parla”. (Example 9.) 



Viol. I. 

Viol. II. 





No. 9. Alceste, Act II 

y Andante non molto. 






Viol. ^ 






When mutes are indicated, they are generally used 
by the whole string section. But more frequently than 
it is usually assumed there are circumstances where 
only a part of the strings (e.g. the first violins) employ 
mutes; the mixture of bright and muted tones pro- 
duces a peculiar color. Sometimes the character of the 
melody is so different from that of the accompaniment 
that the use of mutes has to be planned accordingly. 

The composer, when indicating the use of mutes in 
the middle of a piece (by the wordb con sordini) , must 

not forget to allow sufficient time for putting them 
on. He should provide a rest in the violins, equal in 
length to about two bars in 4-4 time, moderate. The 
rest may be shorter when the words senza sordini in- 
dicate that the mutes are to be removed; this can be 
done in much less time. The sudden transition from 
the muted tones to bright, natural ones (without 
mutes) is sometimes immensely effective in a large 
orchestra. (Example 10.) 

No. 10. Romeo et Juliette, Scherzo de la Reine Mab 





In the third act of “Meistersinger'* (scene of 
Sachs and Walter) the mood of the dreamy young 
man in his conversation with Sachs is wonderfully 
painted by the entrance of the muted second vio- 
lins. The device is as simple as it is ingenious (the 
two words are frequently synonymous) . An equally 
wonderful example is the final scene of “Tristan” 
where Isolde rises from the prostration of despair 
to her last enchanted vision. The first violins had 
been silent for a long time and left the lead to the 
second violins 3 then, before Brangaene’s words, “Sie 
wacht, sie lebt”, they enter con sordini over muted 
horns with the theme of Isolde’s Liebestod. The 
theme, the orchestration and the poetic idea com- 
bine into one of the most sublime effects. 

There are new mutes which are fastened to the 
lower part of the bridge and which only have to 

! be turned into position; but the tone of the violins 
suffers considerably. 

The pizzicato (plucking of the strings) is generally 
used with bowed instruments. The resulting sounds 
serve as accompaniments and are very popidar with 
the singers because they do not cover their voices. 
They are also important for symphonic effects and 
even in vigorous outbursts of the whole orchestra, 
where they may be employed in the whole choir of 
strings or only by one or two sections. 

The Adagio of the Symphony in Bb by Beethoven 
offers a charming example of pizzicato in the second 
violins, violas and basses while the first violins are 
played with the bow. The contrasting sounds are here 
blended in truly marvelous fashion with the melodic 
sighs of the clarinet, enhancing its expression. (Ex- 
ample 11.) 

No. 11. Symphony in Bb, 2ncl movement 

Adagio. BeeihoveiL 

* BSi 




in B. 


in Es. 

I- 1 

Viol. ^ 





If the pizzicato is employed in forte, it should be 
written neither too high nor too low. Extremely high 
tones are harsh and dry; the low ones are hollow. In 
a powerful tutti of wind instruments a pizzicato of 
all string instruments, like the following, will produce 
a striking impression: 

Violins nnisono 
Violas A basses 

acquire the skill to execute passages like those in the 
following example, which are impossible at the pres- 
ent time: 

Tlie fiffores above tbe notes refer to the Angers of 
the risht hand, the letter T indieatixis the thumb 

Allegro non troppo. 

Pizzicato chords of two, three and four notes in 
fortissimo are equally valuable. The one finger em- 
ployed glides so quickly across the strings that they 
sound sdmost simultaneously and seem to have been 
plucked at the same time. The various kinds of piz- 
zicato accompaniments in piano have always a deli- 
cate effect. They afford a sense of relief to the listener 
and — ^if not abused — give a pleasing variety to the 
sound of the orchestra. 

In the future the pizzicato will doubtless be used in 
even more original and attractive effects than hereto- 
fore. Violinists, not considering the pizzicato an inte- 
gral part of violin technique, have given it hardly any 
serious attention. They are accustomed to use only 
the thumb and forefin^r for pizzicato and hence are 
not able to pUiy passages and arpeggios faster than 
sixteenths in 4-4 time of a very moderate tempo. If, 
instead, they were to lay down the bow, the litde 
finger of the right hand cxmld rest on the body of the 
violin and they could use the thumb and the other 
three fingers like guitar players. Thus they would soon 

The repetition of the upper notes in these examples 
becomes quite easy if the first and second fingers are 
used altematingly on the same string. 

Short appoggiaturas are by no means impracticable 
in pizzicato. The following passage from the Scherzo 
of Beethoven’s C-minor Symphony is always executed 
very well. 


jli'iirr I r r ri^ r I ly i r_ii 

Some of our young violinists have learned from 
Paganini to play rapid descending scales in pizzicato 
by plucking the strings with the fingers of the left 
hand, which rests firmly on the neck of the violin. 
They sometimes combine pizzicato notes (always 



played with the left hand) with bowed tones, even 
using the pizzicato as an accompaniment of a melody 
play^ by Ae bow. All players will doubtless become 
familiar with these various techniques in the course 
of time. Then composers will be able to take full ad- 

vantage of them. 

i The following quotation from the overture to 
King Lear by Berlioz shows an ingenious employ- 
ment of the pizzicato (Example 12). 

No. 12. King Lear, Overture 





in G. 




InC. ' 








n. < 








In this place I always have a feeling as if a 
string had burst in Learns heart or, more realis- 
tically, a vein in the half-mad king’s brain. 

The 'Dossibilities nf iiftmcr tTip nimrat/v in 

quote a few examples more, I mention: “Tristan”, 
third act (Example 13); “Rheingold” (Example 
14) ; “Meistersinger”, &ckmesser*s pantomime in 

..- 4 . /T? 



With their bows violinists are nowadays able to 
execute almost anything required. They play in the 
upper region almost as easily as in the middle; the 
most rapid runs; the most eccentric designs offer no 
difficulty. In an orchestra where they are sufficiently 
numerous, what one of them misses is executed by 
the others. Thus mistakes are hardly noticed and the 
final result is exactly as the author intended it. How- 
ever, sometimes the rapidity, complexity or high posi- 
tion of tones woidd make a piece too dangerous; or 

AUegrro assai con fuoco. 

else the author may want to be sure of a secure and 
neat execution: in such cases the violins should be 
divided, some playing one part of the passage, the 
rest another. Thus the notes of each section are inter- 
spersed with short rests, not noticed by the listener, 
which allow, as it were, a breathing space to the 
players and afford them time to reach difficult posi- 
tions securely and to strike the strings with the neces- 
sary vigor. 




If it is desired to have similar or still more difficult 
passages executed by all the violins, it will always be 
preferable to divide the first violins into two groups 
(as in the preceding example) and to let the second 
violins, also divided into two groups, simply double 
the two parts of the first violins, instead of giving one 
part to all the first violins and the other part to all 
the second violins. The distance between the two sec- 
tions would disrupt the even flow of the passage and 

would make the joints between the parts too obvious. 
But if the parts are divided between the two players 
at each desk and each part is thus played on both 
sides of the orchestra, the fragments will connect 
smoothly and it will be impossible to notice the di- 
vision of the passage. The listeners will believe to 
hear it executed by all the violins without interrup- 
tion. Accordingly, ihe passage is written as follows: 

Viol. I 

Viol. II 

Moreover, this procedure is applicable to all instru- 
ments of the orchestra which have the same quality 
and lightness of tone. It should be applied whenever 
a phrase is too difficult to be played well by a single 
instrument or a single group. 

This conception applies to the style of instrumen- 
I tation which I would call the classical. It stems 
from the spirit of chamber music and was trans- 
: ferred to the treatment of orchestras. Its main 
i characteristic is that every figure can be executed 
; with absolute clarity by all the instruments. Its 
opposite is the al-fresco treatment of the orchestra 
i as introduced by Wagner. The classical stands m 
! the same relation to the al-fresco style as that of 
I the Florentine painters of the 14th and 15th cen- 
i turies (which stems from miniature painting) to 

the broad manner of a Velasquez, Rembrandt, 
Franz Hals and Turner with their wonderfully 
shaded color combinations and differentiated light 
effects. The most obvious example of the fresco 
style is the treatment of the violins in the Magic 
Fire Music in the third act of “Walkuere” (Exam- 
ple 16). Executed by 16 to 32 violinists, this pas- 
sage achieves a wonderful, exciting effect. A better 
musical description of the seething flames flickering 
in a thousand tints cannot be imagined. An easier, 
perhaps somewhat slower figuration would prob- 
ably have made an impression of stiffness such as 
I cannot help noticing in the “Rheingold” during 
the song of the Rhine Maidem swimming around 
the reef: 



No. 16. Walkuere, Magic Fire Music 







I believe that passages on the fourth string and, 
for certain melodies, also the high tones on the third 
string could be used to much better advantage than 
has been the case heretofore. If a particular string is 
to be used for special effects, the point for changing 
the string should be clearly indicated. Otherwise the 
players would soon revert to the ordinar>- manner of 
execution, out of habit as well as for the sake of 
greater facility. 

4th strinff 

8rd stTinff . 

Frequently the first violins are doubled one octave 
lower by the second violins in order to give greater 
power to a passage. But unless the tones are extremely 
high, it is much better to double them in unison; the 
effect is incomparably stronger and finer. The over- 
whelmingly powerful effect shortly before the end of 
the first movement of the C-minor Symphony by Bee- 
thoven is due to the unison of the violins. In such 
cases it is not advisable to reinforce the violins by add- 
ing the violas in the lower octave. The low tones of 
the riolas, being much weaker than those of the vio- 
lins, would only produce an ineffective drone which 
would darken rather than reinforce the high tones of 
the \dolins.* Unless the riola part can be made more 
prominent, it is better to use the violas for reinforcing 
the violoncellos in the unison, insofar as their range 
permits, instead of in octaves. This is what Beethoven 
did in the G-minor Symphony. (Example 17.) 

I *Very true! This applies also to French horns 
{ and trumpets. 

No. 17. Symphony in C minor, 1st movement 

Allegro con brio. 


I I 


Violins have more brilliance and are played more 
easily in keys which permit the use of the open strings. 
Only the key of C appears to foim an exception to 
this rule. It sounds less bright than the keys of A and 
E although all four open strings are available in G 
whereas only three remain in A, and but two in E. 

I think it is possible to define the characteristic 
timbre of the different keys on the violin and their 
ease of execution, as follows: 

Major keys 

G easy grave, but dull and pallid 

G# very difficult less pallid, and more pro- 


Db difficult, but less majestic 

so than C# 

^ gay, noisy, somewhat 


D* almost impracticable dull 

^ majestic, rather bright, 

soft, grave 

E not very difficult brilliant, gorgeous, noble 

Fb impracticable 

F easy eneigetic, vigorous 

F# very difficult brilliant, incisive 

& very difficult less brilliant, softer 

G easy rather gay, somewha 


G# almost impracticable dull, but noble 

Ab not very difficult soft, veiled, very noble 

A easy brilliant, elegant, joyful 

A# impracticable 

Bb easy noble, but without bril 


B not very difficult noble, bright, radiant 

Gb almost impracticable noble, but not very 


Minor keys 

G easy somber, not very sonorou 

G» rather easy tragic, bright, distin- 


Db very difficult somber, not very sonorou 

^ easy plaintive, sonorous, some 

what commonplace 
D# almost impracticable dull 

Eb difficult very dim and mournful 

E easy shrill, commonplace 

Fb impracticable 

F rather difficult not very sonorous, som 

ber, violent 

F# less difficult tragic, sonorous, incisive 



Gb impracticable 
G easy 

G# very difficult 

Ab very difficult, almost 
A easy 

A# impracticable 
Bb difficult 

melancholy, rather sonor- 
ous, soft 

not very sonorous, sad, 
very dull, sad, but noble 

rather sonorous, soft, sad, 
rather noble 

somber, dull, rough, but 

B easy very sonorous, wild, 

harsh, sinister, violent 

Gb impracticable 

The string instruments, the combination of which 
forms what is rather improperly called the quartet, 
are the basis and- the constituent element of the whole 

orchestra. They possess the greatest power of expres- 
sion and an indisputable wealth of timbres. Particu- 
larly the violins are capable of a great number of 
seemingly incompatible nuances. They convey (in a 
mass) force, lightness, grace, somber seriousness and 
bright joy, reverie and passion. The problem is only 
to know how to make them speak. Moreover, it is 
not necessary to calculate for them the duration of 

a sustained tone (as for the wind instruments) and 
to relieve them b>^ occasional rests; one can be sure 
that they will never be out of breaffi. The violins are 
faithful, sensible, active and indefatigable servants. 

Tender and slow melodies, confided too often now- 
adays to the wind instruments, are never rendered 
better than by a mass of violins. Nothing can equal 
the stirring sweetness of some twenty E-strings vi- 
brated by as many skilled bows. Here is the true 
female voice of the orchestra, a voice at once pa^ 
sionate and chaste, penetrating and soft; whether it 
weeps, laments, prays or jubilates — ^no other voice pos- 
sesses its- range of expression. A minute movement of 
the arm, an unconscious impulse in the player, hardly 
noticeable with a single instrument, produce in a 
group the' most wonderful shadings and arouse feel- 
ings which penetrate to the depth of the heart. ^ 

I need hardly mention here the angelic purity of 
the violins in the Prelude to “Lohengrin”. The 
i same violins, in a stirring passage in the third act 
I of “Walkuere”, reveal the human bliss of mother- 
; love. (Example 18.) Then again, in the third act 
, of “Siegfried”, they depict the “selige Oede auf 
I wonniger Hoeh” (haven of bliss on the mountain- 
i ous height) in cloudless brilliance. (Example 19.) 

No. 18 . Walkuere, Act III wagnpr. 



HSh'l (fir stel^ TOltends guiz heranf, nnd betra^tot, uti elnem Fblsensteiiift des liiiLtereii UUiaafies st«beiiA» mtt ‘Viu:- 
“* — wondeniiur lUe Snne.) 



CEr bVokt snrlSelte 1& to Tumimd sdireuei etwas-Tor.) 


With the same fidelity the violins lend their tones 
to express the apprentice’s love (David in “Meis- 
tersinger^*) : 

('Whs war mur dar Lena?) 

Wagner, inexhaustible in the symbolic use of the 
orchestral language, even individualized the first 
and second violins in “Tristan”, The second Bo- 
lins, customarily somewhat inferior in execution 
and tone, serve as accompaniments for the second- 
ary figures, Kurwenal, Brangaene and Kix^ Marke; 
while the warmer and nobler first violins — accus- 


tomed to lead— jubilate and suffer with the two 
heroes of the action. 

At the close of this chapter I should like to warn 
against the so frequent misuse of the solo violin in 
the orchestra. The effect of a solo violin is so pe- 
culiar and conspicuous that it should never be em- 
ployed without a compelling poetic motive. The 

great masters used it exclusively as a meaningful 
symbol: Beethoven, in the Benedictus of his Missa 
Solemnis, to let a pure soul praise the Lord in a 
fervent song; and Wagner, in “Rhcingold”, to 
unveil the innermost secrets of a woman’s heart. 
(Example 20.) 

No. 20. Rheingold Wagner. 



The Viola 

The four strings of the viola are tuned in fifths^ 
like those of the violin^ but a fifth lower: 


. aaeondstrlsx 
, thlrdsfcriiv 

, fdorth rtrixiir 

Its ordinary range is at least three octaves: 

It is written in the alto-clef (C-clef on the third 
line) ; the G-clef is used for its highest notes. 

All that has been said in the preceding chapter 
about trills^ bowing, chords, arpeggios, harmonics etc., 
applies eqizally to the viola, which can simply be con- 
sidered a violin tuned a fifth lower. 

Of all the instruments in the orchestra it is the 
viola whose excellent qualities have been unappre- 
ciated for the long^t time. It is just as agUe as the 
violin. Its low strings have a characteristic, husky 
timbre while its high ifotes are distinguished by their 
mournfully passionate sound. The general character 
of its tones is one of pntfound melancholy and is 
notably different from tf^t of the other string instru- 
ments. Nevertheless, it has long been neglected— or 
used, senselessly and ineffectually, for doubling the 
basses in the hi^er octave. The unjust treatment d 
this noble instrument has been due to several causes. 
In the first place, the masters of the 18th century, 
rarely writing four real voices, generally did not know 
what to do with the viola. Vihenever they could not 
give it a few notes to fiOU up the harmony, they did 
not hesitate to write the odious col basso — often so 
cwlessly that the resultix^ octaves conflicted either 
with the harmony or with the melody or with both. 

Furthermore, it was unfortunately impossible at that 
time to write any important passage for the viola re* 
quiring the most ordinary skill for its execution. Viol- 
ists were always selected from the weaker violinists. 
If a musician was unable to fill creditably the post of 
a violinist, he was relegated to the violas. Thus, violists 
eventually could play neither the violin nor the viola. 
I must admit that even in our own time this preju- 
dice against the viola has not disappeared completdy. 
Even in our best orchestras we still find viola players 
who are no more proficient on that instrument man 
on the violin. But me harm caused by tolerating them 
is being recognized more and more; and little, by little 
the viola will be entrusted only to skilled haiick, just 
as the odier instruments. Its timbre attracts and cap- 
tivates one’s attenticHi so vividly that it is not neces- 
sary for an orchestra to have as many violas as secondi 
violins. The expressive powers of its timbre are so 
marked that, on the ve^ rare occasions afforded by 
the old masters for its display, it never fails to answor 
their piupose. 

It is the timbre of the viola which creates the deep 
impression in the famous scene in “Iphig£nie en 
Tauride” where Orestes, exhausted, panting, tortured 
by remorse, falls asleep with the wor^: ^^CahocTcoines 
back to my heart” — while the orchestra, in somber 
excitement, utters sobs and convulsive sighs which 
are accompanied throughout by the terrible, persever- 
ing murmur of the viol^. Tliis incomparable piece of 
inspiration contains not a single note, either, in the 
singer’s part or in the instruments, without its own 
sublime intention; yet, the fascination which it exer- 
cises over the listeners, the awe which causes their 
eyes to dilate and fill with tears, are mainly attibut- 
able to the viola part and, particularly, to the timbre 
of its third string, to its syncopated rhythm smd lo 
die strange effect of the unison betweep its syncopated 
A and t^ A of the basses, whose different mytbm 
abruptly cuts throu^ the syncope. (Example 21.) 




One of the first to discover the demonic possi- 
bilities of the viola was Meyerbeer. In his “Robert 
: le Diable” he employed it ingeniously for the ex- 
pression of pious awe and painful remorse. 

In the Overture to “Iphig6nie en Aulide” Gluck 
used the violas as the sole basis of the harmony, in 
this case not on account of its timbre but to accom- 
pany the melody of the violins as softly as possible; 
this makes the entrance of the basses in forte, after 
a long rest, much more formidable. Sacchini also pive 
the lower part to the violas alone in Oepidus* ^a, 
“Your court became my refuge”, without, however. 

intending to prepare a similar outburst; on the con- 
tTar>^, the instrumentation gives here a pleasant fresh- 
ness and calm to the melody it accompanies. Melodies 
on the high strings of the viola achieve miracles in 
scenes of a religious or ancient cheiracter. 

;j Cf. 'VVolfram*s “Blick ich umher^* (“Tann- 
haeuscr^*, second act) and Lohengrin’s Narration 
(“Lohengrin”, third act)— divided violas in high 
position unisono with the violins; also the violas 
;; sounding like a distant organ, tefore Walther’s 
i Prize Song (“Meistersinger^*, third act). (Examples 
22 , 23 , 24 .) 

No. 22. Tannhaeuser, Act 11 



^ ed- len Krei-se, veldf lio-lier AAlldrmaditiadnHCTgrejffl^ 







^ Spontim was the first to conceive the idea of as- 
sigmng the melody in part to the violas in his won- 
derful prayer in “La Vestale”. M6hul, allured by the 
sympathy between the tone of the violas and the 
d^^y chameter of Ossianic poetry, used them ex- 
clusively, without any violins, in his opera “Uthal“. 
According to the critics of the time, this caused an 
unbearable monotony detrimental to the success of 
the work. It was this work which caused Gretrv to 
«daun: “I would give a Louis d’or for an E-stringP* 
In f^t, the viola timbre — so beautiful when judi- 
ciously employed and skillfully contrasted with that 

of the violins and other instruments — ^is boimd to 
become tiresome; it is too unvaried for any other 

> In a scene of profound sadness (after Bruenn- 
;! hilde’s words, “Weh, mein Waelsung^* n the sec- 
; ond act of “Walkuere**) the violas, on the higher 
I octave of the bass clarinets, express Wotan*s de- 
; jection; an interesting contrast to this is the cow- 
: figure of the violas in the first 

act of “Siegfried” when Mime answers the men- 
acing Wotan. (Examples 25^ 26.) 

No. 25. Walkuere, Act 11 

pooo rit. 

Engl. Horn. 


to 7 



9 Partien.i 

HI 1 



^ n.(io) 

— — 


■ ■ 1 


:■ ■ 


(Sle slant rar s!di hln) 






The beautiful sound of the violas in the last 
movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (with 
“Ihr stuerzt nieder, Millionen”) and the comically 
gruesome solo viola in Aennchen’s aria (“Frei- 
schuetz”, second act) are quoted in Gevaert*s work; 
the solemn introduction to the quartet in “Fidelio” 
I presume to be generally knov^m and admired. 

Here I should like to quote the ecstatic solo viola 
w^hich tells of the miracle of the love potion (“Tris- 
tan’% first act) ; and the strai^e entrance of the 
violas in “Fideli6” (with “wie ein Schatten 
schwebt”) — (fades like a shadow) where the inter- 
val of a third calls forth the picture of the lan- 
guishing Floiestan. (Examples 27, 28.) 

No. 27- Tristan, Act I 


■ H w T 'M m 


Z Hmr. 


motto rallent. 

FfirTOtandTiyiiiudiai Bal^m hier 

for b5-se Gif • te Ge - gen-gift. 



At present the violas are frequently divided into 
first and second viol 2 is. In orchestras like that of the 
Paris Opera, where they are suflEcicntly numerous, 
this procedure is not disadvantageous. But in other 
orchestras which have scarcely four or five violas 
such a division can only be detrimental, since the 
weak viola group is in any case in constant danger of 
being overpowered by the other instruments. In this 
connection it must also be remarked that most of the 
violas currently used in oiir French orchestras are not 
of requisite proportions; neither in size nor in, tonal 
volume are they real violas. They are more like violins 
strung with viola strings. Conductors should abso- 
lutely prohibit the use of these mongrel instrument. 
Their weak sound deprives the orchestra of one of its 
most interesting tone elements and robs it of sonority, 
especially on its deep tones. 

Professor Hermann Ritter constructed 
a ‘'Viola alta” which has a fifth string 
above the four strings of the ordinary viola, ff- ■ 
Because of its larger size the instrument has a con- 
siderably greater volume of tone; besides, it has 
the ad(fitional high tones, very advantageous for 

; modem orchestral works. 

Unfortunately, up to now it has been used only 
to a very limited extent, mainly because it requires 
considerable physical power. Especially viola* play- 
ers with short arms or fingers may hesitate to give 
up the more comfortable ordinary viola. 

Two other new instruments wlfich try to extend 
the lower range of the viola and violoncello should 
be mentioned here: the Violotta and Gellone, con- 
structed by Stelzner. Their practical achievements 
are still too unimportant to make it worth-while to 
introduce them into the orchestra. The fact that 
V they are tuned differently, i.e. have lower strings 
' than the violas and violoncellos, makes their use 
: for existing tasks illusory; otherwise, new parts 
would have to be composed for them. 

When the violoncellos have the melody, it is some- 
times excellent to double them in unison in the violas; 
their tone thereby gains in roundness and clarity with- 
out losing its prepK>nderance. The theme of the An- 
d^te in Beethoven’s G-minor Symphony offers an 
example of this. (Example 29.) 

No, 29. Symphony in C minor, 2nd movement 








The Viola d’amore 


This instrument is scHnewhat larger than the viola. 
It has fallen into disuse almost everywhere. Were it 
not for M. Urban — ^the only player of the instrument 
in Paris — ^it would be known to us only in name. 

It has seven gut strings; the lowest three are cov- 
ered with silver wire, like the G and G on the viola. 
Below the fingerboard and passing below the bridge 
are seven more strings of metal. They are tuned in 
unison with the strings above; vibrating in sympathy 
with them, they lend the instrument a second reso- 
nance, full of sweetness and mystery. It was formerly 
tuned in several odd ways. M. Urban has adopted 
the following mode of tuning, in thirds and fourdis, 
as the simpl^t and most rational: 

. first vtrixiff 

• second string 
. third strina; 

• fourth strinff 
- fifth striBff 

• sixth strins 

• seventh striae 

The range of the viola d'amore is at least three and 
a half octaves. It is written — like the viola — in two 

ladudinff the chromatic Intervals ^ 

As the arrangement of the strings indicates, the 
viola d*amore is appropriate mainly for chords of 
three, four or more tones, whether arpeggiated, struck 
simultaneously or sustained; and above all for melo- 
dies in double stops. For chords, a different system has 
to be used from the one for the violin, viola and 
violoncello, which are tuned in fifths. One must be 
careful to avoid greater intervals in chords than 
thirds and fourths — ^unless at least the lowest tone is 
played on an open string. Thus, the A of the second 
string can be combined with any tone over the entire 
length of the high D-string. 

Needless to say, chords of minor 
thirds and of seconds over, the low- 
est tone of the instrument, such as 
aie impossible, as the tones can be played only on 
the D-string. Similar limitations on *e lowrat strings 
of the other stringed instruments are easily deter- 

mined. j _t , 

TTarmrynirg on the viola d’amoTC have a wtmderful 

effect. They are obtained in the same way as those 
on the violin and viola. Since the seven open strings 
of the viola d’amore form a pwfect «»mmon (^ord, 
it is very easy to produce rather rapid aipe^os <rf 
its basic chords Dj in the higher octave t 

Actoal harmonies 

and in the double octave: 

U^tly toQchinf the 

as well as of the A-major chord in the higher twelfth: 

Aetoal hmmonles 

and of the F$-major chord in the higher seventeenth: 



These examples show that, if cme wants to use 
these charming arpeggios on the viola d*amc»:e3 the 
keys of D, G, A, FJ and B offer the best opportuni- 
ties. But as Aose three chords (D, A, F*) are ob- 
viously not adequate in accompanying a modulating 
melody without interruption, this could easily^ be 
remedied by using several differently timed viedas 
d’amore, for instance in C or Db, according to the 
chords required by the composer for his piece. The 
extraordinary charm of these harmonics on open 
strings would well justify all possible devices to take 
full advantage of them. The viola d’amcMce has a 



weak and soft tone; it has something seraphic, similar 
both to the viola and to the harmonics of the violin. 
It is particularly suitable to the legato style, to dreamy 
melomes, to the e^qpression of ecstatic or religious sen- 
timents. Meyerbeer used it to advantage in Raoul*s 
Romance, in the first act of “Les Huguenots*” (Ex- 
ample 30). But here- it serves only as a solo instru- 
ment. How beautiful would be the effect of a mass of 

violas d’amore in an Andante, executing a beautiful 
prayer in several voices, or accompanying in sustained 
harmonies a melody of the viola, violoncello, the Eng- 
lish or French horn, t>r the flute in the middle of its 
range — combined, perhaps, with harp arpeggios! It 
would truly be a pity if this wondc^ul instrument 
were lost for practical use, especially since any vio- 
linist can learn to play it within a few weeks. 

No. 30 . Lcs Huguenots, Act I 



Viola d^amoar. 



Ah! spec . tacle en - ckan- 

Jfa, welek be . sau^blnm^des 

The Viola da gamba 

The viola da gamba {i.e. leg-viol) was in use in 
Germany up to the second half of the 18th cen- 
tury. At first it had five strings, then six; at the 
end of the 17th century a low string (A) was 
added. This formerly popular instrument has a 
beautiful, sonorous tone. It was tuned in fourths, 
with one exception, and had the following range; 


Its finger-board, like that of the lute, was fur- 
nished with frets marking the divisions between 
the tones. 

The viola da gamba is the ancestor of the mod- 
em violoncello. It was somewhat smaller than the 
violoncello, and was written, according to the 

pitch, in the bass-clef — ^ — 

the tenor-clef -IB- , the alto-clef = = 

or the soprano-clef " 


The Violoncello 


Its four strings are tuned in fifths, exactly an octave 
lower than the four strings of the viola: 

- gy • first atrinff 
e — secoxid strinar 
third fltrixiff 
♦ fourth string 

Its range may be three and a half octaves, even in 
the orchestra: 

Great v^uosos go still higher. However, these ex- 
tremely high notes are attractive only at the end of 
slow phrases; they are usually employed not as natural 
tones but as hamonics, which are produced more 
easily and sound much better. 

Before we proceed further, it is necessary to ac- 
quaint the reader with the double meaning of the 
G-clef in violoncello notation. If this clef occurs at 
the very beginning of a piece or directly after a bass- 
clef, the notes indicate the octave above the actual 

The G-clef has its proper meaning only if it fol- 
lows a tenor-clef (G-clef on the fourth line); only 
then does it indicate the actual tones, and not their 

Th^ is nothing to justify this practice; it fre- 
quently leads to eiprois, since many violoncellists ig- 
nore it and always play the G-clef according to its 
us^l meaning. To avoid misconceptions, we shall use 
It here only after the tenor-clef, when the continued 
use of that clef would lead us too far beyond the 
Steve. Tlie G-clef will thus always represent the actual 
pitch — as in the preceding example. 

IVTiat was smd concerning double stops, arpeggios, 
ti^ and bowing on the violin, applies equally to the 
violoncello. But one must never forget that the violon- 
cello strings, being longer than those of the violin, 
wider stretches between the fingers of the left 
hand. Consequently, double-stop passages in tenths, 
possmie on the violin and viola, cannot be executed 
on the violoncello. One can write tenths only if the 
lower note is on an open string: 

The following tenths would, therefore, be impos- 

Neither is the violoncello capable of the extreme 
agility of the violin and viola— because of the depth 
of its tone and the thickness of its strings. The natural 
and artificial harmonics, frequently employed on the 
violoncello in solos, are produced in the same fashion 
as on the violin and viola. The length of tibe violon- 
cello^ strings makes even the very high natural har- 
monic^ produced near the bridge, much more easy 
and beautiful than on the violin. Here is a fist of those 
harmonics which soimd best on string: 

First string 

— « — . — ^ 

FInsent tooehina the surina 



The best way of producing artificial harmonics is 
by pressing down the first finger as an artificial, mov- 
able nut and then lightly touching the fourth : 

This fingering is almost the only one practicable on 
the violoncello. The position of the touched fifth can 
be used cmly near the bridge where the distances and 
proportions are much smaUer than on the lower part 
of the string, and the stretches of the left hand dimin- 
ish similarly. In this case the fourth finger touches the 
interval of the fifth while the thumb serves as the nut: 

■"f t r !i~ h 

Tlie siffn O Indicates the thumh 

Scales in natural and artificial harmonics: 

I Actual harmonies 

On the violoncello chords in harmonics would 
doubtless have a charming orchestral effect in slow 
and tender pieces. Nevertheless, it is easier and less 
dangerous to obtain the same result by means of di- 
vide violins playing high on the £-stri^ with mutes. 
The two soimds are so similar that it is almost impos- 
sible to distinguish them. 

The following passage, written in harmonics for the 

Violoncelli I 

Violonceni II 

Violoncelli III 

can be precisely and much more easily executed by 
natural tones on the violins: 

Violins I 

Violins II 

Violins III 

In the orchestra the violoncellos usually take the 
part of the double-basses, doubling it in the higher 
octave or in unison. But it is frequently advisable to 
separate the violoncellos from the double-basses. In 
such cases the violoncellos may play a melody or a 
melodious phrase on the high strings. The violoncello 
part may sometimes be written below the double- 
basses to take advantage of the peculiar sound of an 
open string or for some other special harmonic effect. 
Finally, the violoncello part maybe similar to that 
of the double-basses, but in more rapid motion — such 
as the double-basses coidd not execute well: 

Allegro non troppo. From: B^rUo*. Requiem 





Here the violoncello part has a more excited and lision of the minor second below, and at the same 

restless motion, but nevertheless plays approximately time the rough vibration of tibe G, the lowest open 

the same notes as the double-^basses and follows their string of the violoncello — while the double-basses 

le^ almc^t throughout. drone a B with full power on their first string against 

Immediately after this passage, however, the violon- the higher octave of the C in the violoncellos. (Ex- 

cellos separate completely from the double-basses and ample 31 .) 
go below them. This results in the tremendous col- 

No. 31. Requiem, Rex tremendae 



Otherwise one should never separate the violon- 
cellos from the double-basses without sufficient rea^n, 
that is, without being sure of producing a distinct 
effect thereby; nor should the violoncellos be written 
two octaves above the double-basses, as some com- 
posers have done. This procedure can only result in 
weakening the sonority of the fundamental tones of 
the harmony. The bass part, thus forsaken by the 
violoncellos, becomes dull, rough and extremely heavy, 
and combines very poorly with the upper parts be- 
cause the double-basses are too far removed from 
them by their low pitch. , 

This chapter has undergone great changes. The 
ii use of low horns, the introduction of the bass clari- 
;; net, the frequent employment of the tuba as a 
I melodic element — ^all these are supplementing the 
;i double-bass to a great extent. Bassoons are also 
i; used for doubling the basses; I personally prefer 
them for inner parts. They shoidd take the bass 
part of a wood-wind group only if supported by 
i| the double bassoon. 

[ The string quartet, when it is not weight^ down 
by wind instruments, gains in clarity by using only 
the violoncellos as the bass, reinforced occasionaUy 
by a pizzicato in the double-basses, unless one pre- 
; fers to omit the double-basses altogether for long 
stretches, as Wagner deliberately did in “Meister- 
singer*’ for the first time. 

A melody in thp violoncellos and double-basses 
is greatly intensified if the violoncellos are written 
; an octave lower than the double-basses so that they 
; play in unison; also if a number of violoncellos are 
; supported by only one desk of double-baisses. 

When a very soft harmony is to be produced by 
string instruments, it is frequently better to give the 
bass part to the violoncellos alone and to let the 
double-basses rest. Weber did so in the accompani- 
ment to the Adagio of Agathe*s wonderful aria in the 
second act of “Freischuetz”. In this example it is 
notable that in the beginning the violM alone supply 
the bass below a four-part harmony in the violins; 
the violoncellos enter a little later, doubling the violas. 
(Example 32.) 

No. 32. Freischuetz, Act II 







Welck’ scho . . ne Kadtbl 

Lei. My lei - 86, from - me adiwiiig^dldi 

Vic. / I 
B. M 





^ l^ -- ■ 

■ ■■ » 

cr sir 1 











Violoncellos, in a group of eight or ten, are essen- 
tially melodic instruments; their tone on the upper 
strings is one of the most expressive in the entire 
orchestra. Nothing is so melancholy, nothing so suit- 
able to rendering tender, languishing melodies, as a 
mass of violoncellos playing unisono on the highest 
string. They are equally excellent for melodious pas- 
sages of a religious character. Composers ought to 
select the appropriate strings on which such passages 
should be played. The lower strings, G and G, have 

a particularly suitable timbre, full of dignity and 
seriousness, especially in keys permitting Ae use of 
open strings; but their depth of pit^ limits them to 
more or less melodic basses, actu^ melodies being re- 
served for the upper strings (as mentioned above). 
In his Overture to “Oberon”, Weber, with rare felic- 
ity, lets the violoncellos sing high notes while two 
A-clarinets play unisono below them. The effect is 
both novel and touching. (Example 33.) 

No. 33. Obcron, Overture 




No. 35. Tannhaeuser, Act III (Introduction) 

Andante sesai lento. 


"" " 

8 TrpuiDL Ea| 
8 Fo5. 











No. 37. Meistersinger, conclusion 



Violoncellos are able to express a complete 
gamut of moods, both in man and in nature. See 
the beginning of “Walkuere” — storm (cf. Example 
3, p. 11); in the first act of the same work the 
violoncello solo (quoted by Gevaert) — ^first stirring 

of love; the Prelude to “Tristan” — ^yearning (Ex- 
ample 38) ; KurwenaPs derisive song in the first 
act of ".‘TristM” where the violoncellos are com- 
bined with violas and French horns — ^roughness 
(Example 39). 

No. 38. Tristan, Prelude 

Langsam imd scbmacMend. 


■ f '1 

■ r xav X 'i '1 ■ 

X-W X 'X '^1 ■ 





No. 39. Tristan, Act I 

TjAbltaft. dofdi nlcHt zii schnell. Wagner. 


Although our present violoncellists are very skillful divided into two groups. The first violoncellos execute 

and can master all kinds of difficulties without trou- a separate melodic or harmonic part, the second ones 

bit*, fast passages on low notes seldom fail to produce double the basses in the octave or in unison. 

^me confusion. As for notes in high positions requir- For accompaniments of a melancholy, veiled and 

ing the use of the thumbs there even less is to be mysterious character, tU’o different violoncello parts 

expected; they are not very sonorous and are always are sometimes placed above the double-basses, leaving 

of doubtful precision. Violas or second violins are o^ the bass part to them alone ; this, together with the 

viously more appropriate for passages in these high violas, pr^uces a quartet of low harmonies. This ar- 
ranges. In modem, woll-staffed orchestras, containing rangement is seldom well-contrived. One should guard 

a great number of violoncellos, these are frequently against misusing it. (Example 40.) 

No. 40. Rom6o et Juliette, Part III (Sc^ne d’amour) 



The tremolo on two strings as well as arpeggios in 
forte are well suited for the violoncello. They add 
greatly to the richness of harmony and increase the 
general sonority of the orchestra. 

In the introduction of the overture to “Guillaume 
Tell”, Rossini wrote a quintet for five solo violoncel- 
los, which is accompanied pizzicato by the rest of the 
violoncellos, divided into two groups. The de^p tones ^ 
of uniform character are very effective here; they en- 
hance the brilliance of the orchestration in the en- 

suing Allegro. 

The pizzicato on the violoncello cannot have much 
rapidity. The method proposed for the pizzicato on 
the violins would not be suitable on the violoncello — 
because of the thickness and tension of its strings and 
their too great distance from the finger-board. Ac- 
cording to the procedure generally in use for pizzi- 
cato, one should not exceed the speed of eight eighths 
in an alla-breve (Allegro non troppo) or of twelve 
sixteenths in 6-8 time (Andantino). 

Alleero non troppo. Andantino. 

The Double-bass 

There are two kinds of double-basses: those with 
three, and those with four strings. Those with three 
strings are tuned in fifths: 

TO'.'g = first strinir 
■ g - second strinsr 
third strinjc 

those with four strings are tuned in fourths: 

first strinar 

^JS. smnd string 

third strinic 
fourth string 

The actual sound of both is an octave below the 
w'ritten notes. Their range in the orchestra is two 
octaves and a fourth; but the double-bass with three 
strings has three tones less in the low range. 

The four-stringed double-bass appears preferable 
to me; tuning in fourths makes for greater facility of 
execution because the player is not compelled to ^ift 
on the finger-board when playing scales. Furthermore, 
the three low notes E, F and F#, missing on the three- 
stringed double-bass, are extremely usrful; their ab- 
sence frequently spoils the form of the best-designed 
bass part by requiring unpleasant and difficult trans- 
position to the higher octave. This deficiency is still 
more apparent in the English double-basses, which, al- 
though 'tuned in fourths, have only three 

spings — ^A, D, G: . A good orchestra should 

have several four- string double-basses, 

some of them tuned in fifths and thirds: yy o ■ 
Together with the other double-basses ^ I 
tuned in fourths, a combination of open 
strings would be available which would greatly in- 
crease the sonority of the orchestra: 

Double-bass with four strings 

Including the chromatie intervals 

Double-bass tuned in a third and fifths 



In order to extend their lower range, double-basses 
with five strings haire already been used for many 
years, i.e. a new string q a ■■ ~ i = . was added to the 
old four-string double- A bass. The addi- 
tion of this low range 3 is doubtless a 
gain in sonority; but this is counter-balanced by 
die increased difficulty in pressing down the strings, 
since with five strings the middle ones are placed 
very high above the finger-board. Therefore, a 
four-stringed double-bass with a lever device which 
easily changes the low' E to G is definitely prefer- 
able to the five-stringed one. 

The device invented by Max Poike and pro- 
duced by Ludwig Glaesel in Markneukirchen is 
most satisfactory. It sufficiently extends the E-string 
and part of the fingerboard to produce the low G 
To make the tones below* E easily play- 
able, a mechanism of four little brass 
tubes with keys for E, Eo, D and Do 
is attached to the side of the finger-l^ard. When 
£b^ D, Db and G are not used, the E-key is locked 
by pushing a lever with the thumb; ^s key is 
padded and replaces the nut for the E-string. It 
is noiselessly released by holding the E-key and 
pressing the Eb-key. 

I recommend using double-basses of different 
systems wherever possible; among them, in any 
case, als<$ the three-strix^d one, w*hich is far better 
suit^ to cantilena than the German double-bass. 

To this day, two kinds of bows are used for the 
double-bass: ffiose with a curved stick, which are 
not good in, cantilena and produce a harsh and 
brittle tone; and the enlarged violoncello bow, 
which permits all the styles of bowing possible on 
the other stringed instruments. 

The double-basses in the orchestra take the lowest 
tones of the harmony. It has been shown above in 
which cases they may be separated from the violon- 
cellos. The resulting impairment of the bass part can 
be remedied (to a certain degree) by doublii^ them, 
in unison or in the octave, with bassoons, basset- 
horns, bass clarinets or the lowest tones of ordinary 
clarinets.* But I detest the practice of some musi- 
cians to use in such cases also trombones and 
ophicleides, whose timbre has neither sympathy nor 
similarity with that of the double-bass and combines 
with it very poorly. 

Particularly the employment of trombones for 
reinforcing the bass is to be rejected. Concerning 
this problem, everything depends on the tastefiu 
manner of using the instruments suitable for dou- 
bling the bass. I may be permitted to refer the 
reader to the application of the' various bass tubas 
in the scores of my “Zarathustra” and “Helden- 
l leben”. 

I In large tutti important bass themes of the three « 
I trombones are frequently reinforced by bassoons, 
violoncellos and double-basses; I myself have made 
I this mistake. This is quite useless: the hard, pierc- 
ing tone of the three weighty trombones in unison 
; is softened rather than strengthened by this sup- 
port. Unless one wants to give the bassoons and 
^ low* string instruments complementary parts or fig- 
> urations, it is better to omit them in such marcato 
; passages for the trombones, except, of course, when 
• one intends to soften their power. 

There are occasions when the harmonics of the 
double-basses may be used successfully. The tension of 
their strings, their length and distance from the finger- 
board prevent the use of artificial harmonics. Natural 
harmonics, however, sound very well, especially those 
from the middle of the string (which give the higher 
octave) upward. They are the same harmcmics as 
those on the violoncello, except that they are one 
octave lower. 

Chords and arpeggios may be used on the double- 
bass if unavoidable; how*ever, only chords of two are 
at most three notes can be used, of which only one 
ma'" be fingered: 

Double-basses tuned in fourths: 
po eojT 

j f f *j 

Double-basses tuned in fifths: 

The intermittent tremolo can be produced easily, 
thanks to the elasticity of the bow, which rebounds 
several times on the strings after a single rather vig- 
orous attack: 

Allegro moderate. 

This does not hold good in the following passage: 


This can be played only at the point of the bow as 
a continuous tremolo^ and not without some difficulty; 
it lacks force and elicits but little tone. 

The continuous tremolo, however, somewhat less 
dose than in the preceding example, is of excellent 
dramatic effect; — 

Compare the expression of sublime awe in the 
Prelude to *Tarsifal”. A unique application of the 
lowest instruments in the or^estra is to be found 
in the second act of “Walkuere”, during Wotan’s 
narration. (Example 41.) 

No. 41. Walkacre, Act II 



Was kei-nem in Wor-ten ich Idbi-de, 

nn - ans-ge-sproehenblelt? es denn e - wig: 








Ein wenig 1)ewegter. 









With all its simplicity, this scene is for me the 
1; inconceivable miracle of a genius who was able, 
! better than anyone else, to transform all emotions 
; and passions into orchestral sounds which over- 
j; power and irresistibly convince all listeners. 

— ^Nothing gives the orchestra a more menacing ex- 
pression. But it should not last too long; otherwise it 
exhausts those players who really endeavor to execute 
it well, and soon becomes impracticable. When it is 
thus necessary to stir the depths of the orchestra dur- 
ing a longer passage, it is better to divide the double- 
ba^es into two parts. These are given, not a real 
tremolo, but quick strokes of different riiythm, while 
the violoncellos execute the real tremolo; 

If it is necessary to use more extended rapid runs 
in the double-basses, it is best to divide them in the 
fashion indicated above for the violins; but special 
care should be taken to avoid keeping the first double- 
basses too far removed from the second. 



!Double-ba5s I 

DouUc-bass II 
















The sixteenths of one part coincide with the triplet 
eighths of the other only at the beginning of eadi 
b^t. Thus they produce a vague mtirmur which 
comes very close to a tremolo and is a tolerably good 
substitute for it. I believe that in many cases Aese 
different rhythms, simidtaneously play^, are even 
preferable to the tremolo proper. 

Rapid diatonic runs of four or five notes often have 
an admirable effect and are easy to play if they con- 
tain at least one open string: 


traed in fifthi because no <ven 
stnnss ean be used. 

It is a cxirrent mistake to write for the heaviest of 
all instruments passages of such rapidity that even the 
violoncellos would have trouble executing them well. 
Hence there result serious disadvantages: some dou- 
ble-bass players, too lazy or in t 2 uct incapable of 
tackling such difficulties, give up at once and try to 
simplify the passage. But each one simplifies it in a 
different manner, since they do not all have the same 
ideas regarding &e harmonic importance of the dif- 
ferent notes; this causes a horrible disorder and con- 
fusion. This buzzing chaos of strange sounds and ugly 
snarls is still further increased by the vain efforts of 
more zealous or more confident players to master the 
passage just as it is written. 

Composers should therefore take care to ask of 
double-bass players no more than is practicable. Only 
in this way can they be sure of an accurate execution; 
and only this will do away with the old system of 
simplification by the double-bass players, a system gen- 
erally adopted in the old instrument^ school, and 
whose d 2 mger has just been demonstrated. If the com- 
poser writes only that which is compatible with the 
nature of the instrument, the player must execute it 
literally. But if the composer errs, then he as well as 
the audience must bear the consequences; the per- 
formers are no longer to blame, 
j The double-basses are particularly suitable to ex- 
! press gloom, awe, meditation and preoccupation. 

I Out of many examples only the following are 
I; quoted; the solo in Verdi’s *‘Otello”; the old 
1 woman’s song in Marschner’s “Hans Heiling”; 
i; Tristan’s awakening (third act). (Examples 42, 
i; 43, 44.) Also to be mentioned here is the fugue 
!; from my tone-poem “Thus spake Zarafhustra”. 

More difiScult, on account of the descending notes: 




No. 44. Tristan, Act III 

Slides of short notes, preceding longer ones, the orchestra by running up to F with the four short 

notes B, G, D, £ (with the words “at the terrible 
howling of foaming Cerberus*’). This rough barkix^, 
one of Gluck’s finest inspirations, becomes all the 
_ , „ more terrible as the composer uses line third inversion 

are exeait^ by sli^g rapidly with the finger on the of the diminished seventh chord (F-G#.B-D). Fur- 

string, mmout paying too much attention to the pre- thermore, to give his idea all the weight and vche- 

cmcm of the intervals; this can be extremely effective. mence possible, he doubles the basses not only with 

Tne passage in the Hades scene of **Orfeo” is well the violoncellos but also the violas and the whole 

known, where the double-basses deal furious Mows to mass of violins in the octave. (£xample 45.) 


No. 45. Orfeo, Act II 


fine la pear, 

fSa - It - dl«r Sekr§ 

t«r- rear ^em • pa - rent 

SAre - - sti ~ 



tHiwi tMi Boknot 

ikm m& s ek r Bo k - JDro ^ im imt Sm - guHgdmr 



gmgdtr eStr 


w SArt/ 


note that Beethoven here, as in many other pieces, 
gave the double-basses notes which they cannot exe- 
cute. One might conclude from this that the orchestra 
for which he wrote possessed double-basses descending 
as low as the G an octave below the violoncello C. 
Such instruments are no longer to be found today. 
(Example 46.) 

No. 46. Pastoral Symphony, 3rd movement. (Thunderstorm) 


Beethoven has also availed himself of these not too 
clearly articulated notes; but — contrary to the previ- 
ous example — he accents the first note of each group. 
These bass passages are to be found in the stom 
scene of the Pastoral Symphony; they depict in strik- 
ing fashion the wind driving ihe rain violently, and 
the hoDow rumbling of the storm. It is interesting to 



In passages for wind instruments only it is excel- 
lent to double the lowest part of the bassoons^ bass 
clarinets, low horns, or even of the trombones or 
bass tubas, with one or, if necessary, several desks 
of double-basses; unless one prefers to let the dou- 
ble bassoon or the double-bass clarinet play the 
lower octave. 

The cemetery scene in “Don Giovanni” is fre- 
quently executed by wind instruments alone; how- 
ever, just the double-basses which the divine 
Mozart added to the trombones give the scene a 
peculiar, ghostlike color (especially if placed back- 
stage). {Example 47.) 



A fine and dramatic effect can sometimes be ob- 
tained by giving the real bass to the violoncellos, or 
at least the notes which determine the chords and fall 
on the accented beats, while the double-basses, below 
the violoncellos, play an independent part whose de- 
sign, interrupted by rests, permits the harmony to rest 

on the violoncellos. In the admirable scene of ‘Tidelio*’ 
where Leonore and the jailer dig Florestan’s grave 
Beethoven has displayed all the solemn dignity and 
gloomy sadness of this kind of instrumentation. How- 
ever, he gave the real bass to the double-basses. 
(Example 48.) 

No. 48. Fiddio, Act H 


Andante con moto. 



Elar.lii 0. 


Honiiftr inC. 





— — 

Kontrafag. mit Eontrab. 

PP ^ 





Ebnlnb. * 



con sordini 


con sordini 



1 ^ 










To indicate a mournful silence, I have di\dded the sustained pianissimo chords beneath a decrescendo of 

double-basses into four parts in a cantata; they play the rest of the orchestra. (Example 49.) 

No. 49. Lc Cinq Mai, Cantata for Bass and Chorus 




on dra-pean noSr! 


pp poeo : 

un poco ritenxLto 

Elanln G. 


8 »*-**-- "• Si 








Viol. \ 






The pizzicato of the double-basses, in forte as well 
as in piano, is of good sonority unless it is employed 
on very high tones j but it changes its character ac- 
cording to the harmonies which it supports. Thus, 
the famous pizzicato A in the overture to “Frei- 
schuetz’* derives its threatening and infernal effect 
only from the echo of the diminished seventh chord 

(F#-A-C-Eb), which thereby is transformed into its 
first inversion on a weak beat. The same A, written 
as a major tonic or dominant, and played mezzoforte 
similarly to the passage in question, would no longer 
have anything strange about it. 
i Also compare: 

No. 50 . Tristan, Act I 


a ElanlxiB. 





dortdie gra-nen FliwendemBliok no<^ klan sick fSr-bea| harrt mein Ko- nig mei-ner Fran} 

In this passage the pizzicato G of the double-basses 
together with the ninth-chord always gives me a 

sensation of color. 

I should like to offer a few suggestions for the 
treatment of the strix^ gi^up, always so difficult, 
and a strangely refractory instrument in the hand 
of bunglers. The best models for study are to be 
found in Mozart’s string quartets with their im- 
peccable style and tech^ue, and particularly in 
the polyphony of the string quintet in Wagner’s 
scores. The “Siegfried Idyfl” with its wonderful 

melodic contours, as well as “Tristan” and “Mei- 
stersixiger” with their almost total avoidance o£ 
tremolos, offer on almost every page a complete 
compendium of the art of de\^oping the full 
sonority of the strings. The whole Prize Song is an 
outstanding model for polyphonic line and the em- 
ployment of open harmony, pemiitting a rich res- 
onance of overtones; see-particmarly the bars from 
Walther’s “Dort unter einem Wimderbaum” to 
“das schoenste Weib” (Example 51). 







Mutes are employed on double-basses, as on other 
bowed instruments; but their effect is not venr' char- 
acteristic; they diminish the tone of the double-basses 
very little and make it sound more gloomy and vague. 

A Piedmontese artist, M. Langlois, who played in 
Palis about fifteen years ago, produced verv peculiar 
high tones of incredible power on the double-bass 
(with the bow) by pinching the highest string be- 

tu’een the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, thus 
moving almost to the bridge. If there were need to 
render in the orchestra the violent outcry of a female 
voice, no other instrument could produce it better 
than the double-basses treated in this fashion. I doubt 
whether oiur artists are familiar with M. Langlois* 
method; but they could easily learn it within a short 

Instruments With Plucked Strings 

The Ibrp 

This instrument is essentially anti-chromatic; that presently. Formerly the range of the harp was only 
is to say, successions of semitones are, basically, not five octaves and a sixth, 
possible on it. The reason for this w£U be discussed 

I ^ [■f'T • f f^r r 

As one sees, this scale is in the key of Eb. All harps 
were timed in this key, until the skiliful manufacturer 
£>nurd invented a mechanism which eliminated the 
disadvantages of this system. He proposed tuning the 
harp in Cb, a method adopted by almost all modem 
harp players. 

The chromatic intervals can be obtained on the old harp 
only by means of seven pedals, successively set into position 
by the player's foot. Blach of l^ese raises the note to which 
its mec hani sm applies by a semitone over the entire range 

of the instrument — ^not individually. Thus the F$-pedal can- 
not sharp cme F without raising at tiie same time all the 
other Fs on ^e instrument. Hence, the following cambina- 
tions are all impossible (except in very slow tempo) : chro- 
z]^tic scales; sequences of chords with chromatic progres- 
sions, or belonging to non-related ke^s; most embellishments 
consisting of appoggiaturas with accidentals or several such 
short notes. All these are impracticable or, at best, extremely 
difficult and very ugly. Completely impossible on the £b- 
harp sire the following three seventh and three ninth 
chords, which must thmfore be banned forever from the 
composer’s store of harmonics: 

It is evident that all chords containing Gb and Bb simul- 
taneously are not possible. As the harp is tuned in Eb and 
the pedsds raise each string only a semitone, Cb can be 
produced only with the Bb-pedal^which immediately elim- 
inates all the Bbs of the scale. The situation is the same 
with Db, which is attained by raising the Gb, as well as with 
Gk produced by raising the F. 

The pedals of the Eb-harp can restore to their natural 
state only the three flatted tones (Bb, £b, Ab) and can 
shaip only four other tones (F, Gi, G, D} ; the^ore, this 

harp is playable only in eight keys: Eb, Bb, F, G, G, D, A, E. 
The other four keys (Ab, Db, Go, Cb) can be obtauned only 
by enharmonic changes, and by quiddy taking and releasing 
one or more pedals. In Ab major, for instance, the Db is 
nothing but an enharmonic G$. The player must therefore 
quit the Cl-pcdal immediately after taking it to keep the 
Gb open, the major third of the key in which he is playing; 
fu^ermore, he must skip the Db-string when ascending 
diatonically. This is so awkward ffiat such scales may be 
considered almost impracticable: 

These inconveniences and difficulties are still greater in 
Db major and Gb major, both keys being almost inaccessible, 
with the exception of a few chords. Furthermore, the keys 
of Gb major and Gb major pre s e nt new difficulties^ by com- 
pelling the player to transpose several notes of their scales: 
he must strike the Ft-string when the written note is Gb, the 

Bb-stiing for Cb, and the Gt-striug for Db- The key of Gb 
b^osnes somewhat easiernf it is written in its other fonn — 
Bb. But since this key (like that of Ab) requires all ^e 
pedals, there still remains the fri^tful difficulty of skipping 
one string and then relcanng and at once retaking a pedal 
because die leading-tone (enharmonic) and the tonic are 



played on the same string. 

The following example illustrates the fact that the execu- 
tion of a chromatic sesde of two octaves, e.g. 

necessitates the use of five pedals, which have to be put into 
action vezy quickly — ^in succession — for the first octave alone; 
then they have to be released just as quickly to restore the 
raised notes to their original position so that they are avail- 
able for die second octave; finally the pedals have to be re- 
taken as in the first octave. Such a scale is therefore impos- 
sible on any harp, even in very moderate tempo. 

In the case of a succession ci chords in several non-rclated 
keys, the impossibility of execution becomes still more evi- 
dent. Here several pedals would have to be taken and re- 
leased simultaneously: 

Certain appoggiaturas and ornaments containing chro- 
mtic succMons may, in fact, be executed after a fashion; 
but most of Acm are, as I have already mentioned, scarcely 
I^ticable. Those which may be admitted as exceptions are 
of rather poor quality, since the taking and the instanta- 
neous release of the pedal impairs the vibration of the 





Figurations like the following, however, and similar pas- 
sages containing several semitones in a brief tonal gamut and 
at a livdy pace, are next to impossible: 

Since the harp is r^yed with both hands, it is also writ- 
ten on two staves. The lower stave usually has the F-clef, 
the upper one the G-def; but if the high range of the bass 
notes or the low range of the treble notes demands it, cither 
def xnay be used on ^th staves simultaneously. 

This arrangement increases the number of passages im- 
practicable on the £b-harp still further. A passage that may 
be easy for the right hand becomes impossible if the accom- 
panment in the left hand contains notes which are chro- 
matically altered by a pedal while the harmony uses them 
in their natural form: 

The two chords marked * are not played since they con- 
tain an Fb which is sharped in the melody. In these cases 
the note appearing in two different forms must 1^ omitted 
in one of the two parts. In the preceding example it is 
better to leave the diord in the left hand incomplete and 
to eliminate the Fb- 

When a melody previously played by other instruments 
is to be repeated by the harp, and if it contains impossible 
or dangerous chromatic passages, it must be skillfully modi- 
fied by substituting notes belonging to the same harmony 
for one or more of the altered notes. Thus, instead of giving 
the following melody to the harp in the form preiaously 
played by the violins: 

the author considered it better to write it for the harp as 


iii<i ^^i.|i j; i 'ir' eir i ttiflrirm 

The nature of the harp mechanism requires the sacrifice of 
the four consecutive semitones in the thM bar. 

Impressed by all these grave disadvantages, M. 
Erard some years ago invented a different medianism, 
after which the new harps are called double-action 
harps. In the following I am going to explain thig 
mechanism; I shall show how it permits the harpist 
to play in ^1 keys and to produce all chords, ^lidly 
or in arpeggio-form — even though he may not be able 
to execute chromatic sequences. 

'Hie double-action harp is tuned in Gb. Its range 
is six octaves and a fourth: 

Its seven pedals are so arranged that the player, 
by means of each of them, can raise each string at 
his option either a whole tone or a semitone. By 
using the seven pedals successively for the semi- 
tones, the Gb-harp is altered to the keys of Gb, Db,. 
Ab, Eb, Bb, F and G, and is set for these keys. If 
es^rfi string is then raised another seTTiitone by means 
of the second notch for the pedal, the seven tones 
of the natural scale are altered to Ft, Gt, Grt, D#, 
At, Et and Bt, whereby the harp is timed in G, 
D, A, E, B, Ft and Ct. 

Thus, all keys are available to the harp. The minor 
keys can be set only if they are played the same way 
ascending as descending, without observing the usual 
modifications of the su^ and seventh steps; other- 
wise two more pedals would have, to be taken and 

* . r II <tait . 

jrj JliJ r t' ^ IJ 

jFWf. jW* 



If the augmented second between the sixth and sev- 
enth steps is used in both directions of the minor 
scale^ this scale can be set too, and the accidental use 
of the pedal is not necessary, an advantage consider- 
able enough to justify the use of this scale: 

As for the six chords impracticable on the £i>- 
harp, it will be seen that the double action makes 
them possible. The chord , is very easy to ex- 
ecute, its four notes being part of the scale 

of the Cb-haip. The chord 

merely requires 

the use of the two semitone pedals Dl] and Fij; 

also requires two, Flj and Cl^. Three ped- 
als, Cl|, £1^ and Gl], are needed for the chord 

requires but one, FI; ; and 

the last chord 

again three (FI], Al| and 

Gl]). All this is done without difficulty. £ven the 
chord which seems to contain at once Cl] and Gb 

is practicable: 

. The Dbb (or Cl]) is at- 

tained by means of the pedal raising Gb a semitone, 
and Gb Is produced with the pedal raising Bb a semi- 
tone; Abb comes frc»n the Gb raised a semitone; Fb 
requires no pedal, being a normal tone in the scale 
of the Cb-haip, This dbord, as it is written above, 
will therefore be executed in this strange form: 

major in this form: 

; hence it is better to write it in G 
. If the double-action 

harps are to be employed in an orchestral piece set 
in B major for the other instruments, it is better to 
write the harp part, for the sake of sonority and con- 
venience, in its normal key of Gb : 

Composers should take care, in writing harp parts, 
to forewarn the player a litUe in advance of the 
changes in pedaling, for instance by placing a few 
bars before the occurrence of the mc^ulation such 
words as. Prepare Take pedal for Cl],*etc. 

The nature of the harp Wving been sufficiently 
explained, we now proce^ to the fingering. Many 
composers confound it with that of the piano, which 
it docs not resemble at all. 

Chords of four notes can be struck with each hand 
if the tw'o extreme notes are within an octeve: 

Thanks to the great stretch between the thumb and 
little finger, intervals of a tenth can also be played; 
consequently, chords such as these are possible: 

However, this position is less convenient and less nat- 
ural, and therefore also less sonorous because none 
of die fibers can attack the string with as much 
force as in the normal position. 

Incidentally, chords in the extreme low range of 
the instrument have no sonority and produce con- 
fused harmonics; they should be avoided: 

These low tones are only fit for doubling a bass pas- 
sage an octave lower: 

To produce the tones of a chord successively, either 
ascending or descending, is in the very nature of the 
harp; these chord figurations have been named ar- 
peggios from the It^an, arpa. They should, gen- 
er^y, also not exceed an octave, especially in a fast 
movement; otherwise the hand would have to change 
its position, which causes considerable difficulties. 

Only the note at the conclusion of a passage may 
exceed the octave: 


The following example is also very easy to execute 
because the change in the position of the hand oc- 
curs in the upward direction, and the third finger, 
which could scarcely be used here, is not needed at 
all; nor does it demand two consecutive notes with 



Generally care must be taken not to place the two 
hands too dose together; they should be an octave or 
at least a sixth apart; otherwise they interfere with 
each other. If the two hands play an arpeggio chord 
in thirds with each other^ the same string will be 
taken by one hand as soon as the other h^ left* it. 
Consequently the string has no time to vibrate^ and 
the tone is stifled the moment it is produced. 

Very bad 

The name, very 
good because d 
the distance bo> 
tween the 
two hands 

All passages which require the skipping of a finger 
from one string to another can be written only in very 
moderate tempo. 

When a rapid series of diatonic octaves or sixths 
is desired, they should generally be written for two 
hands. The sb^s^ as w^ as scales in thirds, can also 
be played by one hand, but only in descending. In 
this case the thumb slides from one upper note to the 
next while the other three fingers play ihe lower notes. 
This passage: 


is difficult because of the distance between the thumb 
and the other fingers; the following two are easier: 

two parts by an octave, writing series of tenths: 

If one wants to employ a rapid arpeggio of more 
than an octa^, it must be written in one part dis- 
tributed between both hands, instead of two pares. 
One hand plays a fragment while the other changes 
its position and prepares for the next fragment, and 
so on, reciprocally: 


This arpeggio would be impossible if doubled in the 
octave. TTie following example is impracticable in 
quick movement, but quite possible in slow time: 

In the second act of “Tannhaeuser^*, with Tann- 
haeuser^s words “Zu Gottes Preis, in hoch erhab’ne 
Femen, etc.” occurs a harp passage which it is 
practically impossible to execute: 

The trill can be executed on the harp, but its ef- 
fect is only tolerable in the high notes. Tlie repetition 
of one note was difficult and unpleasant on the old 
harps on account of the grating noise caused by the 
first finger striking the string immediately after the 
thumb, thus interruptixig its vibration: 

These sc^es in thirds form an exception to what 
has been said about keeping the hands apart; they can 
be executed with both h^ds. The disadvantage of 
tme string being taken by two hands in quick succes- 
sion is much smaller in diatonic progressions because 
the intermediate note allows a little more time for 
vibration. Nevertheless, it is better to ivrite/ffiese series 
of thirds for two harps, giving the higher ^art to one 
and the lower part to another; or, if only one harp 
is available and a full tone is desired, to separate the 

On the new harps the repetition is easy and pleas- 
ant: the double action of the pedals makes it possilde 
to raise the adjoining string by a whole tone so that 
the repetition is produced on two strinc^s in unison: 

A# Aff A# 



Repetition in two or four voices (occasionally very 
useful in the orchestra) can be obtained by using two 
or more harps and giving them chord figures which 
cross each other. These offer no difficulty and produce 
exactly the desired effect: 


Haip I 

Harp II 

Result for 
the hearer 











The effect of harps increases in proportion to the 
number employed (except where music is intraded 
for execution in a small circle and close to the listen- 
ers). The tones, chords and arpeggios of a ma^ of 
harps can be heard with extraordinary brilliance 
above a whole orchestra and chorus. 

Nothing can be more in keeping with ideas of 
supernatural splendor or erf religious rites t han the 
tones of a great number of harps, ingeniously em- 
ployed. Employed singly or in groups of two, diree 
or four, they also have a very fdicitous effect, either 
in combination with the orchestra or as an accom- 
paniment to voices or solo mstruments- It is remark- 
able that of all known timbres those of horns, trom- 
bones, and brass instruments generally blend best with 
the harp. Unfortunately, the lower strings, whose 
tones (with the exception of the soft and dull strings 
of Ac extreme low range) are veiled, mysterious Md 
beautiful, have scarcely ever been used for anytoir^ 
oAer than bass accompaniments of Ae^left^hMd. It 
is true that the players have no special liking for 
pieces moving within Ae lower octaves. These strings 
are far from Ae perfewnner^s body, forcing him to 
bend forward, stretch his arms and to stay for long^ 
or Aorter periods of time in this xmcomfortable pem- 
don. But Ais reason can have had little weight wiA 
composers. The fact is, Aey simply have not Aought 
of utilizing Ais peculiar tunbre. 

An example of the beautifvil and soft sound of the 

low strings: 


The strings of Ae highest octave have a lovely 
crystalline tone of voluptuous freAness, able to paint 
pictures of fairy-like delicacy and to whisper delicate 
secrets wiA lovely meloAes. It is necessary, however, 
that Aey are not attacked wiA force by Ae player, 
lest Aeir tone become dry and hard, similar to that 
of a broken glass. 

The harmonics erf Ae harp— particularly of many 
harps in unison — ^are still more magical. Solo players 
employ Aem frequently in Ae cadenzas of Aeir fan- 

tasias, variations and concertos. But noAing can 
match Ae beauty of Aese mysterious sounds wAcn 
they are emnbin^ wiA Ae medium tones of flutes 
and clarinets. It is strange that Ae affinity of Aese 
timbres and Ae poetry of Aeir combination Aould 
have been recognized and actually used only once — 
very recently. (See example 8, p. 30, quoted in rrf- 
erence to harmonics on Ae violin, where harmonics 
on Ae harp are also employed.) 

The best and almost Ae only harmonics on Ae 
harp are produced by touching Ae center of Ae 
string lightly wiA Ae lower, fleAy part of Ae hand 
while playing wiA Ae Aumb and Ae first two fin- 
gers of Ae same hand; Ais produces Ae upper octave 
of Ae normal sound. Harmonics can be played by 
boA hands simultaneously. 


It is even possible to produce two or Aiw har- 
monics at a time wiA one hand; but Aen it is ad- 
visable to let Ae oAer hand play only one: 

^Harmonies Not all Strings of Ae harp are fit for 
harmonics. Only Ac twro octaves above 
Ae lowest Aould be used ; Aey alone are 
long enough to be divided by touching in 
Ae center and have sufficient tension to 
produce clear harmonics. 


If Ae course of a piece or Ae Aaracter of its in- 
strumentation require Ae sudden transition erf Ae 
harp part from orie key into anoAer very remote one 
(e.g. from £[7 to £)]), Ais carmot be effected on Ae 
same instrument. A secmid harp must be kept ready, 
tuned in Ae Aarped key, wh^ immediately con- 
tinues Ae part of Ae ha:^ in the flatted key. If Ae 
transition is not so sudden and only one instrument 
is available, Ae composer must give Ae player a suf- 
ficient number of rests to set all pedals necessary for 
Ae modulation. When Ae harps are numerous and 
are -treated as an integral part of Ae orchestra (not 
merely as an accompaniment for an instrumental or 
vocal solo), Aey are usually divided into first and 
second harps az^ are given two separate parts; Ais 
adds greatly to Ae riclmess of Aeir effect. Even a 
greater number of different harp parts may be well 
justified. This becomes indispensable, as we have seen, 
when a sudden transition into distant keys is intended. 

The Theban bas-reliefs, where an exact representa- 
tion (rf ancient harps is to be found, prove Aat Aese 
had no pedals and consequently could not modulate. 
The no less ancient harps used to this day by WelA 
and IriA bards have several rows of strmgs. This ar- 
rangement doubtless places Ae chromatic style and 
modulation more or less wiAin Aeir power. 

In qxsaking of repeated notes I have pointed out 
above Ae advanta^ offered by modem harps in 
tuning two strings in unison by means of Ae double 
action, e.g. ^ | one of Aese Cbs being pro- 
duced by fc Ae Cb-string, Ae oAer by Ac 
Bb - string ^ ‘ raised a semitone; or 



The At|, it must be remarked, cannot be doubled 
and hence, cannot be played twice in succession. In 
fact, it is not possible to have four syncmyins at a time, 
simply because there are only seven tones in the scale, 
whereas four synonyms would require eight strings. 
Furthermore, the tone Al| can be product onfy on 
one string, Ab, and not on Gb, which can be raised 
only two semitones by the double action, that is to 
Ab. The same limitation is found on two other strings, 
Gb and Fb. 

Three synonyms are therefore still wanting on the 
haip: D, G and A. This defect (for such it is indeed) 
would disappear if the manufacturers would provide, 
as Parish-Alvars proposes, a triple action for the 
pedals of the three notes Cb, Fb and Gb, which would 
permit raising these strings by three semitones. 

Mr. Erard should not allow such a defect to remain 
in the mechanism of this instrument. It would be 
worthy of so skilled a manufacturer to be the first 
to remove it. 

If one does not use all synonyms at once, obviously 
other chords than the diminished seventh can be ob- 
tained. Anybody can work out these manifold com- 
binations for himself once he has clearly understood 
the effect of the pedals upon the strings. There will 
be even more combinations available after the three 
synonyms lacking at present are ^ned by a triple 
action of the pedals Gb, Fb and G$. 

A briUiant example for the above mentioned 
method of glissando (on the -diminished seventh 
: chords) is to be found in Liszt’s Dante-Symphony; 

I here it symbolizes the spirits oi the unfortunate 
i: Francesca da Rimini and her lover as they rise 
: from the inferno. (Example 53.) 

where one Eb isjjlayed on the Eb^tring, 
I r.-H the other on the Db-string raised two semi- 
tones. It is hardly believable what effects great harp- 
ists are now able to derive from these double strings, 
which they call synonyms. M. Paiish-Alvars, perhaps 
the most extraordinary virtuoso ever to be heard on 
this instrument, executes runs and arpeggios which 
at first sight seem utterly impossible. Yet &eir whole 
difficulty consists only in an ingenious application of 
the pedals. He plays, for instance, the following pas- 
sage with astonishing rapidity: 

Allegro assai. 

The facility of this passage is eiqilained by the fact 
that the player simply has to slide three fingers down- 
ward across the strings without any fingering and as 
fast as he likes, because the instrument is tuned by 
means of the synonyms in a sequence of minor thirds 
producing the choid of the dinimished seventh. In- 
stead of the scale 

the strings are tuned in this sequence of intervals: 


In cx>nnection with ihe haxp, I wish to point 
out again ther cautious use which Richard Wagner 
made of this instrument (see “Lohengrin” as an 
outstanding example, also the second act of ‘‘Tris- 
tan”). Whenever he employed it, he achieved ex- 
traordinary and striking effects with the timbre of 
this beautiful instrument. 1 can only warn b^;in- 
ners again to use all particularly bright and char- 
acteristic colors of the orchestra very sparingly and, 
before writing them, to consider seriously whether 
these colors are indispensable in this particular 
place or whether they mi^t be replaced by simpler 

Nowadays all t^ese special orchestral titbits such 
^ harps, flageolets, percussion instruments, are be- 
ing terribly misused. Especially the percussion in- 
struments should be us^ only as isolated high- 
lights if their effect is to be felicitous and char- 
acteristic; see the single triangle stroke at the end 
of the s^ond act of “Tristan”. Otherwise the ear 
oi the listener becomes unnecessarily dulled: fine 
lig^t-^cents become formless smears of color. 

Berlioz was unusually familiar with the tech- 
nique of the harp, which in view of its difficulty 
cannot be expected from every author. A funny 
utterance of Richard Wagnei^s to the harpist 
Tombo is reported. During the first rehearsal of 
the end of “Rheingold” in Munich, when Tombo 
sadly declared the harp part to be^ absolutely un- 
playaUe, Wagner said to the excelltot artist, “You 

cannot expect me to be able to play the harp; you 
see what effects I want to achieve; now arrange 
your part as you like**. Those who do not feel sure 
they possess the inspired instinct of a Wagner, had 
better follow the saying: Quod licet Jovi, non licet 

Ihe harp must always be treated as a solo in- 
strument, ^50 in the orchestra, lest one write un- 
necessarily notes which arc inaudible. 

In the tutti of a modem orchestra only a group 
of several harps is effective. The harp part of 
“Tristan** is played by four harps in Bayreuth! 

An effect on the harp not mentioned by Berlioz 
is ffie bishigliando (“murmuring**), used for exe- 
cuting tremolos. The tremolo is written as for the 
piano, for instance ^ ; the harpist 

does not play it -AflL*-|jy..] witli one hand, 
but distributes it be- tween the right 

Pigures like the following can also be executed 
in this fashion: 



The Guitar 

The gmtar is an instrument suitable for accompany- 
ing the voice and for taiing part in instrument^ 
comp^tions of intimate character; it is equally ap- 
propriate for solo performance of more or less com- 
phcat^ compositions in several voices, which possess 
true chann when performed by real virtuosos. 

It has six strings, tuned in fourths and tUrds as 

J I I I 

Sometimes it is tuned in the following' manner, espe- 
cially for pieces in the key of E: 

The three lower strinp are made of silk covered 
with silver wire; the other three of catgut. The guitar 
is a transposing instrument with a range of three 
octaves and a fifth, written in the G-clef, an octave 
higher than the actual soimd: 


Major and minor trills can be played throughout the 
range of this scale. 

It is almost impossible to write well for the guitar 
without being able to play the instrument. However, 
the majority of composers who employ it do not pos- 
sess an accurate knowledge of it. They write things of 
excessive difficulty, weak sonority and small effect for 
the instrument. We shall at least try to indicate here 
how simple accompaniments should be written for it. 

In the usual position of the right hand the little 
finger rests on the body of the instrument; the thumb 
is used for plucking the three lower strings: 

the forefinger plays on the G-string 



middle finger, on the B-string 


third finger, on the high E-string 

Consequently, for chords of more than four notes the 
thumb has to slide across one or two of the lower 
strings while the other three fingers strike the three 
high strings directly. In chords of four notes each 
fin^ strikes only its own string; the fingers change 
strings only to play chords in low positions, for in- 

Since the guitar is mainly a harmonic instrument, 
it is important to become familiar with the chords 
and hence also the arp^gios which it can execute. 
W e start with the easiest — those which can be played 
without the barrage, a procedure vrhereby the fore- 
finger of the left hand is placed across the neck of 
the instrument over two, three or four strings, and 
thus serves as an artificial fret. (The fret is the little 
ledge across the neck, on which the strings rest and 
which limits their \dbrating length.) 

In C: 

Also all segments of these diords 

In G : 

In D: I 

In E: 

The flat keys are incomparably more difficult than 
the precedii^; all of them require the barrage. The 
following cho^ are the easiest: 

In Bb: 

In all chords one must avoid using the first and 
third strings without the second because the thumb 
would be forced to skip over the second string to go 
from the first to the third. It is impossible to play 
the following chords: 



But if the second string is added, they become easy: 

IDominant seventh chords should not be written in 
die usual posituMi of three thirds one above the other, 

“■ 1 1 1 I \\[ I lu I iji 'I 

They are next to impossible. The following, though 
difficult, is possible: G is an 

open string; only is very easy and sonor- 

ous on account of the open £-string. 

The following three chords are easy and link to- 
gether well in all keys: 

Likewise in F#, G, Ab, etc.: 

Of course, these chords may sometimes have more ’ 
than four notes, namely in keys which permit the ad- 
dition of a low open string, as in A, £, G, F — ^in short, 
wherever cme of these three notes 

can serve as 

The following successicm of chords, requiring the 
barrage across four strings, is practicable on the lower 
two thirds of the neck of the guitar: 

and so forth, ascending to 

this is the highest point where this fingering can be 

The foDowing arpeggios on the guitar are of ex- 
cellent effect: 

The two slurred high notes in the last example 
are played plucking the E-string with the little 
finger of the left hand. 

Descending arpeggios are rather awkward but fea- 

In the opposite direction they arc very easy. The 
following are much more difficult and less advan- 
tageous on account of the retrograde movement of 
the thumb on the low two notes: 

Scales in groups of two slurred notes with the repe- 
tition of one note are elegant and sound well, espe- 
cially in the brilliant keys of the instrument: 


Scales in thirds, although difficult at their two ex- 
tremities, can be executed at a moderate speed: 

This applies equally to series of sixths and octaves. 

Repeating the same tone two, three, four and even 
six or eight times is easy; prolonged repetitions '(rolls) , 
however, are appropriate only on the highest string 
or possibly on the three high strings: 

The tones marked T are played with the thumb, the 
others sdtematingly with the first and second fingers. 



In rolls the thumb alternates with the first and second 
fingers on the same string: 

Harmonics are easily produced on the guitar and 
may be excellently employed in many cases. The best 
are those produced on open strings — ^by lightly touch- 
ing the octave, fifth, fourth or major third. 

As we have explained in the chapters on the 
stringed instruments, the octave, lightly touched, pro- 
duces that same octave: 

The last-mentioned harmonics are the least sonor- 
ous and are difficult to produce. It should be under- 
stood that the expression actual harmonics in the 
preceding list refers only to the pitch of the guitar, 
not to al^Iute pitch; for in absolute pitch these har- 
monics, like all other tones on the guitar, are an 
octave lower than the written notes. 

Chromatic and diatonic scales in artificial har- 
monics can also be produced on each string. For this 
purpose the fingers of the left hand are pressed on the 
tones whose higher octave is to be produced ; the fore- 
finger of the right hand then touches the center of 
the vibrating part of the string, and the thumb of the 
same hand plucks the string behind the forefinger. 

The fourdi produces] 
the double octave: 

i^ctuai harnmnies 

The fourtha of the S open 

BtringB touched 

i 1 I ■] --F-- 

• f=:=i 

1 - 

•r -I • ^ 

Actual hmnnoniei^ 

The major third maJlor thirds cl th* S open 

duces the seventeenth : strizias touched 

Unless one can play the guitar oneself, I repeat, 
it is impossible to write for it pieces in several voices, 
containing passages that require all the resoiirces of 
the instrument. If one wants to get an idea what 
virtuosos are able to achieve in this respect, the com- 
positions of such famous guitar players as 2^anni de 
Ferranti, Huerta, Sor, etc. should be studied. 

Since the intn^uction of the piano into all homes 
where there is any interest in music the guitar has 
been gradually disappearing, except in Spain and 
Italy. Some virtuosos have cultivated and are still 
cultivating it as a solo instrument; they are able to 
create pleasant and original effects on it. Otherwise 
composers employ the guitar neither in the church nor 
in the theater or the concert hall. Its weak tone, 
which prevents its combination with other instruments 
or with several singing voices of normal tone volume, 
is doubtless the cause of this. Its melancholy, dreamy 
character might nevertheless be used more frequently. 
Tts charm is undeniable, and it is not impos^Ie to 
write for it so as to' make this manifest. 'The guitar 
— ^in contrast to other instruments — loses when re- 
inforced in number. The sound of twelve guitars 
playing unisono is almost ridiculous. 

J in VerdPs “Otello” the guitar is employ^ very 
felicitoi&ly 'in combination writh a mandolin and 
bagpipe as an accompaniment of the chorus: 




The Mandolin 

This ^ instrument is almost forgotten nowadays^ 
which is a pity. Despite its thin and nasal quality, 
its tone has something piquant and original about it 
and might be frequently used with good effect. 

There are se\'eral kin^ of mandolins. The one best 
known has four double strings — i.e., four times two 
strings in unison, tuned in fifths like those of the 
violin. It is written in the G^clef: 

It is an instrument better suited for melody than 
for harmony. Its strings are vdbrated with a quill or 
plectrum held in the right hand of the player. They 
can produce four-part (diords such as these; 


At present the mandolin is so ctxnpletely neglected 
that in theaters where “Don Giovannf’ is performed 
the execution of this serenade always presents diffi- 
culties. Although a guitar player or even a violinist 
could familiarise himself with the mandolin in a few 
days, so little respect is entertained for the ideas of 
the great masters whenever some old habit would 
have to be sacrificed, that i>cople almost everywhere 

and even at the Op&ra (the last place in the world 
where such liberties should be taken) venture to 
execute ihc mandolin part pizzicato on violins or on 
guitars. The tone of these instruments has by no 
means the peculiar delicacy of the mandolin; and 
Mozart knew what he was dcwg when he chose this 
particular instrument to accompany the amorous song 
of his hero. 

Stringed Instruments With Keyboard 

The Pianoforte 

The pianoforte is an instrument with a keyboard 
and metal strings set in vibration by hammers. Its 
present range is six octaves and a fourth, frequently 
even seven octaves.* Its music is written simultane- 

ously in two clefs: the F-clef is used for the left hand, 
the G-clef for the right. Sometimes — according to the 
registers of passages assigned to both hands — two F- 
clefs or two G-clefs are used. 9 

Including all efaTomatle intervals 

latle intervals a A £ ^ 


The trill is possible on all degrees of the scale. 
Chords of four and even five notes can be played 
simultaneously or arpe^iated in any manner and 
with both hands; but the hannony shc^d be as close 
as possible: 

are omitted for the sake of greater ease of execution : 

Chords embracing an interval of a tenth are pos- 
sible, too; but then the third and even the octave 

Four and ev^n five real voices may be written for 
the pianoforte if care is taken to keep the outer parts 
in each hand within the space of an octave or at most 
a ninth. Otherwise the pedal has to be used. This 
raises the dampers and permits the player to prolong 
the tones without keeping the fingers on the keys, in 
which case one is free to place the voices even further 

Example in four parts without pedal: 

Example with pedal: 



The sign * (or similar) in the second example in- 
dicates that the pedal is to be xeleased in c^er to 
restore the fimction of the dampers. Whenever pos- 
sible, it is used when the harmony changes in order 
to prevent the continuation of previous chcHtl 
during the ensuing one. On account of this long pro- 
longation of each tone, appoggiaturas \with acciden- 
tals and passing notes ^ould he av*oided as much as 
possible in the middle of the instrument while the 
pedal is being used; for these notes, sustained like all 
the others and thereby mixed with a harmony to 

which they do not belong, produce excessive dis- 
sonances. Such melodic ornaments are possible only 
in the highest octaves of the keyboard, where the 
strings are very short and have relatively little reso- 

Modem Steinway Grand Pianos have a third 
pedal, which serves to prolong a single tone at will. 
:i This is \'ery effective and may occasionally help 
I the pla^nr in passages of sever^ voice-parts. 
Sometimes the hands are made to cross, the left 
hand passing over the right or vice versa: 


The number of such combinations among the mani- 
fold groups of tones playable on the pianoforte is 
very considerable. In fact, it would be impossible to 
mention them all here. Only by studying the compo- 
sitions of great virtuosos, especdally Liszt’s, can one 
form a clear idea of the progress made in the art of 
piano playing. The student will then perceive that 
the limits of what is attainable on this instrument are 

still quite unknown, and that ihey are extended con- 
tinuously through astonishing new exploits by per- 

For the pianoforte, as for the harp, it is better in 
certain cases (for instance in arpeggios) not to place 
the two hands too near each other. A passage li}:e 
the following would be rather inconvenient: 

Diatonic and chromatic scales in thirds for both 
hands are, however, quite easy: 

Suck scales in thirds can also be executed by one 
hand alone, but they are difiScult in a fast tempo. 
Moreover, in keys with few dbarps or flats one may 
write for both hmds consecutive sixth-chords consist- 
ing of three notes: 

Thanks to the high degree of perfection attained by 
our skilled manufacturers, the pianofcxte may now be 
considered from two viewpoints: either as an (orches- 
tral instrument or as a small orchestra complete in 
itself. Only once * has it been employed in the same 
fashion as the other instruments, so as to add its 
peculiar resources to the ensemble of die orchestra 
and to create effects which could not be attained in 
any other way. 

hy p. 1S7 


Certain passages in Beethoren^s concertos ought to 
have drawn the composers* attention to this point 
long ago. They have surely admired the wonderful 
effect in Beethoven’s Concerto in Eb, produced by the 
slow chord figurations of both hands in the h^h 

region of the piano, while the flute, clarinet and 
bassoon play the melody over eighth-notes of the 
strings in contretemps. In such combination, the tone 
of the pianoforte has an alluring charm, it is full of 
calm of freshness — the very image of grace. (Example 
56 .) 

No. 56. Concerto in Eb, Adagio 

Adagio im poco mosso. 








Whenever the piano is forced to go be>'ond its o\^’n 
tender effects and to compete with the power of the 
orchestra, it disappears completely. It must accom- 
pany or be accompanied, unless, like harps, it is em- 
ployed in large numbers. I would not be inclined to 
scorn such an arrangement; however, in view of the 
large space required, it would be difficult to place a 
dozen pianofortes in a moderately large orchestra. 

Regarded as a small independent orchestra in it- 
self, the pianoforte must have its owm appropriate 
instrumentation, which is closely connected wiA the 
performing pianist’s art. On many occasions it is left 
to the player to bring out certain voices or to keep 
others in the background; to play a passage in the 
middle register wi'ffi emphasis while giving lightness 
to the ornamental passages abo\*e and reducing the 
sonority of the basses. It is for him to decide where 
a change of lingers is indicated or where only the 
thumb should be used for a particular melody. In 
writing for his instrument, he knows when to employ 
close or open harmony; he understands the various 
degrees of distance beween tones in arpeggios and 
the different kinds of sound resulting from them. 
Especially imjjortant is the judicious use of the pedals. 
Outstanding composers of pianoforte music have al- 
ways indicated with the utmost care where the dam- 
per pedal is to be taken and released. Unfortunately, 
many \'irtuosos — and some of the most brilliant 
among them — wantonlv disregard these pedaling 
marks and play almost continuously with raised 
dampers. They pay no attention to the prolongation 
of unrelated harmonies into one another and to the 
ugly discords caused thereby. This bad habit is really 
a deplorable abuse of an excellent de\dce; the result 
is noise and confusion instead of harmony! This is 
only the natural consequence of that intolerable tend- 
ency of virtuosos — great and small, singers and in- 
strumentalists — to put interest in their own person- 
ality in the foreground. 

I This reproach can now also be extended to a 
I great number of conductors. 

They have little regard for the indispensable re- 
spect which the performer owes the ccmnposer, and 
for the tacit but absolute obligation to transmit the 
composer’s ideas faithfully to die audience — ^whether 
the performer honors a mediocre author by interpret- 
ing him, or is honored himself in rendering the im- 
mortal ideas of a genius- In either case, the performer 
who, catering to a momentary* whim, works contrary 
to the composex^s intentions, ought to contemplate 
the fact that the author of the work, whate\*er it may 
be. has probably devoted considerably more attention 
to the place and duration of certain effects, to the 
design of his melody and rhythm, to the choice of 
cho^ and instruments, than the performer has in 
taking his own peculiar liberties. One carmot protest 
enough against this senseless privilege too often 
claimed by instrumentalists, singers and conductors. 
Such presumption is not only ridiculous ; if it develops 
further, it must produce imspeakable confusion and 
cause serious harm to the art. Composers and critics 
must fight against this at all times. 

(These are golden words! The Editor) 

The soft pedal is used much less frequently than 
the damper pedal; but Beethoven and several other 
composers have employed it very felicitously. It is 
of excellent effect when contrasted with the ordinary 
sound of the pianoforte or with the splendid sonority 
produced by the damper pedal. It is equally usefutl 
in accompanying singers, especially if their voices are 
weak, and in the more frequent instances where the 
entire performance is to have a soft and tender char- 
acter. Its use is indicated by “una corda” or “mit 
Verschiebung^’. Its action consists in shifting the 
ivhole keyboard so that the hammers hit only two of 
the three unisono strings which are now provided in 
all good instniments for each tone (excepting the 
lower ranges). Since only two strings vibrate instead 
of three, the sound is reduced and the timbre is 
changed considerably. 

Wind Instruments 

Before studying individually each member of this 
large family, we shall establi^ as clearly as possible 
a musical vocabulary indicating the different degrees 
of hx^ or low pitch of certain instruments, the txans- 
positions causing these differences, as well as the cus^ 
tomary notation and denomination of these instru- 


We begin by making a line of demarcation between 
instruments sounding as they are writtm and instru- 
ments whose tones sound higher or lower than the 
written notes. The following two categories result 
from this division: 




whose tones sound as written 



Viola d’amore, Viola da gaznba 


Ordinary flute 


Clarinet in C 


Russian bassoon 

French horn in high C 

Comet in G 

Trumpet in C 

Alto trombone 

Tenor trombone 
Bass trombone 

Ophicleide in G I 


Bass tuba 

Harp, Mandolin 



Voices (if written in their individual clefs and 
not, without any distinction, in the G-clef). 

Ancient cymbals 



Keyboard harmcmica 

Viola alta 



Saxophone in C 

It will be seen from this table that all non-transpos* 
ing instruments marked ‘‘in C”, whose tones sound as 
they are written, belong to the same category as those 
without any designation of key (like the violin, oboe, 
flute, etc.); the latter are completely equivalent to 
the instruments in G from the composer’s point of 
view. However, the designation of some wind instru- 
ments in accordance widi the natural sound of their 
tubes has led to the most singular and absurd conse- 
quences; it has made the notation of transposing in- 
struments very complicated and the musical vocabu- 
lajy very ilk^cal. It is, therefore, necessary to discuss 
dm practice thorougUy and to re-establish order 
where it is generally conspicuous by its absence. 

Perforxners sometimes the tenor trombone, ‘‘the 
trombone in Bi>‘*; the alto trombone, “the treunbone 
in Eb**; and still more frequently, the ordinary flute, 
“the flute in ET. 

These designations are correct m the sense that the 
tube of the two trombones with the slide closed pro- 
duces the tones of the Bb chord on the first trom- 
bone, and those of the Eb chord on the second trom- 
bone; likewise, the ordinary flute with all holc^ 


whose tones arc different from the written notes 

.\li other flutes 
Oboe d^amore, English horn 
All other clarinets 
Tenoroon, Double bassoon 

All otherFrench horns 
All other comets 
All other trumpets 
Valve alto trombone 

All other ophicleides 


All other tubas 


Tenors and Basses (if written in the G-clef, their 
sound being an octave below the written notes) . 

Harmonica 'with steel tongues 



All other saxophones, saxhorns, saxotrombas and 

stopped and all keys closed plays the tone D. Yet 
pexformers need not pay any attention to the natural 
sound of die tube; they simply play the written notes. 
Thus, the C of a tenor trombone is a C and not a 
Bb^ the C of an alto trombone is also G and not Eb, 
that of the flute is again a G and not a D. The evi- 
dent conclusion is that these instruments belong not 
to the transposing, but to the non-transposing instru- 
ments. One may consider them to be in G just as 
well as the oboes, clarinets, horns, comets and trum- 
pets in G. They require no designation of key, unless 
they be called “in G’*. This shows at once how im- 
portant it is not to call the ordinary flute, “flute in 
D“; for it has become* the fashion to name Ae higher- 
pitched flutes according to the difference between 
their pitch and that of the ordinary flute. Thus, the 
flute in the third (i-e., “third-flute”) is called “flute 
in P*; the flute in the. ninth (i.e-, “ninth-flute”) is 
called “flute in Eb”. The designation of the instru- 
ments by interval rather than by key would at least 
have avoided the confusion of terms. The following 
illustrates what this terminology can lead to. In a 
score the small clarinet in Eb, whose G really pro- 



duces £1), can execute the same part as a third-flute, 
so-called “in F”. The two instruments bearing the 
names of different keys nevertheless produce the iden- 
tical tone. One of the two designations must be false. 
Is it not absurd to adopt a nomenclature for the keys 
of the flute completely at variance with that used for 
the other instruments? 

Hence I propose the following principle, which 
makes any misunderstanding impossible: the tone C 
is the only point of comparison upon w’hich the des- 
ignation of the key of transposing instruments is to 
be based. The natural sound of the tube of non- 
transposing wind instruments is to be disregarded 
completely. All non-transposing instruments and those 
transposed only in the octave i i.e., in which the writ- 
ten C produces C ) are considered as being in C. 

If an instrument of the same family is tuned below 

or above the pitch of the basic instrument, this dif- 
ference is designated according to the relation to C. 
Consequently, the violin, the flute, the oboe, playing 
unisono with the clarinet in G, the trumpet in G, 
the horn in C, are in C; whereas a violin, a flute, 
an oboe which are tuned a tone higher than the usual 
instruments of the same name, are called in JD, be- 
cause the\’ play unisono with the clarinet in D and 
the trumpet in D. 

Hence it follows that the old designations for the 
flutes should be abandoned: the third-flute should no 
longer be called flute in F, but rather flute in Eb, 
since its C produces Eb; likew'ise, flutes in the minor 
ninth or second should not be called flutes in £9, but 
rather large or small flute in Db, since their C pro- 
duces Db; and so on for all keys. 

Reed Instruments 

The family of double-reed instruments is to be dis- 
tinguished from that of si.igle-reed instruments. The 
former is composed of five members: the oboe, the 

English horn, the bassoon, the tenoroon, ana uic 
double-bassoon: the latter comprises clarinets, basset- 
horns, saxophones, etc. 

The Oboe 

This instrument has a range of two octaves and a 
fifth and is written in the G-clef: 

Including th« chromatic intervals 

f f f 

difficulties of fingering will disappear, as for instance 
in rapid passages from the middle C» (Db) to the 
note above: 

The two highest notes should be used with cau- 
tion; the F in particular is risky when it enters 
abruptly.* Some oboes have the low Bs — ; 

but fliis tone, not generally available on 
the instrument, should better be avoided. 

With the application of Boehm’s sN-stem the present 


and from to F-: 

On these tones and also on certain others, major 
trills are therefore impossible or very difficult and of 
poor effect, as the following table shows: 

iDifficuitl I Difficult i I Difficult 

— 1 — — tr-r ir- 

★ ★ ★ 

— Hrf fr* — 

★ * 

^ 6^,.. , <}p , 

l|*rj Ijj |,J H|| 



'A ir ir. ir tr tr 

lOifeulti iTmposiiblel 

tr ,ir . A- 

|Diffictilt| IDifficuitl . 

^ ^ IDifficuitl 

1 [ M-p — 1 : 1 ■ T 1 " V 1 1 1 T jrr|j-*r 1 


1 ' 1 r 

★ ★ 

^ * 

T • » 


■ 1 Difficult 1 

j Difficult! {Difficultj 

IDifficuitl Impowble 



p 1:1’ ^ L 



-:.~£ ~r n 

The Paris Conservatoire Model, with some 
changes by Flemming, makes it possible to play 
all the trills marked * quite cleanly, even at a 
rather rapid tempo; also the broken F#-major 

*This no longer applies to the modem French oboes; 
they can play piano up to ; they even produce ‘1 

chord, for instance 


, but only legato. 


Oboes, similarly to all other instruments, play with 
greater ease in keys with few flats and sharps. 

% Scales in B are diflicult, in Ab easier, in Db again 
I more difficult. The foUowii^ passages are easy, 

I even at the most rapid tempo: 

In melodious passages the following range should 
not be exceeded: 

The tones above or below this range sound weak or 
thin, hard or shrill and are all of poor qiiality. Rapid 
chromatic or diatonic nms have an unpleasant, al- 
most ridiculous effect, even though they can be ex- 
ecuted quite easily on the oboe; the same is true of 
arpqggios. There should hardly ever be any need of 
writing such passages; in fact, we have never come 
across any. The use that virtuosos make of them in 
ffieir fantasias and variations does not disprove their 
impracticability. The oboe is above all a melodic in- 
strument; it has a pastoral character, full of tender- 
ness — I might even say, of shyness. 

In the tutti of the or^estra the oboe is used, how- 
cvw, without consideration of its timbre; for here 
it is lost in the ensemble, and its peculiar expression 
cannot be identified. Wc may mention here in ad- 

vance that this applies also to most of the other wind 
instruments. Only those of extremely strong volume 
or with very distinctive peculiarities of tone offer an 
exception. They cannot be treated for puzposes of 
general harmony like other instruments without of- 
fending both art and common sense. Among these 
we can put the .trombones, ophicleides, double-bas- 
soons, and in many instances also the trumpets and 

Artless grace, pure innocence, mellow joy, the pain 
of a tender soul — 2 dl these the oboe can render ad- 
mirably with its cantabile. A certain degree of ex- 
citement is also within its power; but one must guard 
against increasing it to the cry of passion, the stormy 
outburst cf fury, menace or heroism; for then its 
small voice, sweet and somewhat tart at the same 
time, becomes ineffectual and completely grotesque. 
Even some of the g^at masters — ^Mozart among them 
— did not avoid this error entirely. In their scores we 
find passages whose passionate contents and martial 
accents contrast strangely with the sound of the oboes 
executing them. This causes not only thwarted ef- 
fects, but also startling disparities between stage and 
orchestra, between melody and instrumentation. The 
theme of a march, however vigorous, beautiful and 
noble it may be, loses its nobility, vigor and beauty 
when played by oboes. It may possibly preserve its 
diaracter if given to the flutes; played by clarinets, 
it almost invariably retains its full power. 

Only in pp have martial liiythms been employed 
: successfully — ^to imitate trumpets played in the di- 
stance (especially by Mozart). Cf. Figaro’s aria 

(Example 58). 

No. 58 . Le No22e di Figaro, Act I 





VedU u. 

, , fLL-g'Pbr: fL .i4‘gl.r. I' P'p ii ^ 

I Non pi& an-drai far-fal-lo- nc arzno- ro-io, not- te e gtor-no d*in-tor-no gi- ran-do, dcf-lc 




Occasionally, however, oboes have to be used in 
pieces of a martial nature in order to give more 
weight to the harmony and to reinforce the other 
wind instruments. Since its sound is not suitable for 
this style, the oboe part should be written so that it 
is completely covered by the other instruments. It 
should blend with the ensemble so as not to be recog- 
nizable as an individual instrument. The lower tones 
of the oboe, impleasant when used prominently, may 
be combined very effectively in certain strange and 
lamenting h 2 urmonies with the low tones of the clari- 

net and the low D, E, F, G of the flutes and English 

Gluck and Beethoven showed admirable under- 
standing for the use of this valuable instrument; the 
profound effect of several of their finest pages is due 
to the oboe. Concerning Gluck, 1 need only mention 
the oboe solo in Agamemnon’s aria in “Iphig^nie en 
Axilide” (“Peuvent-ils ordonner”) . What other instru- 
ment could so poignantly express these laments of an 
innocent voice, Hus prolonged and ever more urgent 
supplication? (Example 59.) 

No. 59. Iphig^nie cn Aulidc, Act I 



Consider, too, the famous ritomelle in the aria from 
*‘Iphig6nie en Tauride”: “O malheureuse Iphigenie!” 
(Act II, Scene 4). Again, the childlike cry of the 
orchestra when Alceste, in the enthusiasm of her 
heroic self-sacrifice, is struck by the recollection of 
her two little sons and suddenly interrupts the theme 
*‘Eh, pourrai-je vivre sans toi?” to respond to the 
touching appeal of the instruments witn her heart- 
rending cry, “O mcs enfantsl” (Act I, Scene 5). 

Finally, let us mention the discord of the minor sec- 
ond in Armida*s aria, with the words ‘‘Sauvez-moi 
de Tamouri* (Example 60). All this is sublime — ^not 
only in its drs^atic idea, its prdFound expression and 
in its melodic grandeur and beauty, but also in its 
instrumentation and the admirable choice of the 
oboe as the instrument most adequate and appropri- 
ate for creating such impressions. 

No. 60. Armide, Act III 

. Moderate. 


Venez, ve-nez, 

Hrn. in F. 

dn gooffree-ptfitLTail - ta . ile, 
aius Tie • fe/ 

tes re - 




EriLin F. 

\ — 4 - 

- = ^ 



11 , 

■' 4r 



yar.:P-F.,. 1 






* contre on en-ne - mi trop ai - ma . ble^ 
Ge^^peneinenlbiruidm^ lie ~ be. 

renAez-moi num coor - roox, i^l-lo - mez 
eoaffne 7 nfU 9 i,gib mir Safi undewi - 














gonffre A-pon-oan- ta . ble, 
grau^enjoci^ler Tie-fe! 

oa Tons fai - tea re - goer 

Serf, wo e ~ ioi~ge Saehi, 

one 6 - terndlebor. renrl 
wo Sehredtennmrre^gieri! 

i fiirf Jr If r r r i ^j r r . i jr^j^ 




As a rule, however, Wagner rarely gives ex- 
i : tended melo^es to one instrument alone. He pre- 
I' fers the method of distributing melodies among 

intricate combinations of several instruments. A 
classical example of this is to be found in the sec- 
ond act of “Walkuere” (Example 64). 

No. <54. Walkuere, Art H 



6 FI. 


in B. 


Fag. I. 

molto ritenuto 

1 J 

— — ■■■ ' — 










jy P^P 

The oboe with its thick and impudent low tones 
and its thin and bleating hi^ tones, especially if 
I they are exaggerated, is very suitable for humor- . 
; : ous effects and for caricature. The oboe can rattle, 

I bleat, scream just as well as it can sing and lament 
i ndbly and innocently, or play and warble cheer- 
' fully. 

Bee Aoven used predcxninantly the gay expression 
of the oboes. Examples of this ate to be found in the 
wcio in the Scherzo oi the Pastoral Symphony (Ex- 
sonple 65), in the Scherzo of the Ninth Symph(xiy, 

in the first movement of the Bb-xnajor Symphony, 
etc. But he was no less successful in assigning tones 
of sadness or despair. to the oboe. This is illustrated 
by the solo in minor, in the recapitulation of the first 
movement of the A-major Symphony, in the episodic 
Andante of the “Eioica” finale, and particularly in 
the aria in “FideUo** where the starving Florestan 
imagines seeing his weeping wife in his delirious agemy 
and mingles 1^ anguished cries with the sobs ci the 
oboe. (Examples 66, 67, 68.) 



No. 65. Pastoral Symphony, 3rd movement 





ereso. poco a poco . • f doh 


! The French instruments arc of finer workmanship, 
their registers are more even, they respond more easily in 
[‘ the treble and allow a softer pp on low tones. Corre- 
; spondingly, the style of pla^-ing and the tone of French 
; oboists is by far preferable to that of the German players. 
\ Some German “methods" try to produce a tone as thick 
I and trumpet-like as possible, which does not blend in at 
I all with the flutes and clarinets and is often unpleasantly 
I protpinent. 

j The French tone, though thinner and frequentlv trem- 
S ulant, is much more flexible and adaptable; yet' when 

it is necessaiy*, its forte can be penetrating and also much 
more resonant. 

This applies particularly to the English horn. Observe 
its admirable application and combination with flutes, 
oboes, clarinets, bassoons in the first and second acts of 
“Lohengrin." Ihetr effect would be completely changed, 
against the author's intentions, if the English horn were 
to stand out as an independent part, as it often happens 
when the German method is used, instead of acting as 
a discrete mediator between the timbres of the wood-wind 

The Oboe d’amore 

It is a minor third lower than the oboe and has 
the following range: 

Ineiuding the ehrommtlc intervals 

Actual sound: 

Its timbre is milder and of a more subdued 
character; its agility in the sharp keys is greater 
than that of the oboe. 

It was frequently employed by J. S. Bach and 
his contempozaries, mostly as a concertante instru- 
ment, preferably two oboes d*amore together. 

At the beginning of the second part of his 
Christmas Oratorio, Bach intzx>duces two of them 
in combination wi^ English horns — sl delightful 
representation of the peaceful pastoral music. 

As an example of the employment of this instru- 
ment in modem times, I should like to mention 
my '^Sinfonia Domestica”, where the oboe serves 
as a symbol of the child, dreaming innocendv as 
well as playing gaily. (Full score, p. 13 — “HI. 
Thcma”, and p. 15-^cherzo.) 

The English Horn 

This iiLstniment is, so to speak, the alto of the 
oboe. It has almost the same range; some English 
horns also have the low Bb. It is written in the G- 
clef like an oboe in low F; consequently, its real 
sound is a fifth lower than written. Its scale 

IndudSiw the chromatic intcrmls 

sounds as follows to the listener: 



If the orchestra plays in G, the English horn must 
be written in G; if it plays in D, the English horn 
is written in A, etc. 

Everything that has been said in connection with 
the ob^ concerning difficulties in the fingering for 
certain groups of sharped or flatted tones applies 
equally to the English h(»m*; rapid passages have 
an even poorer effect on the latter instrument. Its 
tone, less piercing, more veiled and heavy than that 

of the oboe, does not lend itself so well to the gaiety 
of rustic melodies. Nor can it express passionate la- 
ments; tones of kern grief are scarcely within its 
range. Its tones are melancholy, dreamy, noble, some- 
what veiled — as if played in the distance. It has no 
equal among the instruments for reviving images and 
sentiments of the past if the composer intends to 
touch the hidden chords of tender memories. 

Thus, Halcvy has very felicitously employed two 
English horns in the ritomellc of Eleazar^s aria in 
the fourth act of “La Juive” (Example 69). 

I A most marvellous example is the sad strain of 
I the shepherd in the third act of Wagner’s “Tristan” 
I (Example 13, p. 39). 

No. 69 . La Juive, Act IV 

Andantino espressivo. 

Hmr. in F. 




Vie. a. 
K. B. 

] !. 'i.' 


N j-r 

h~'i" i 1 =j 

* 4 :*^ 

^ pizs. 

, ' 

^ -J 

•Sinululy to Uw obo^ this is no longer true today, the present technical qualities of the English hom being about 
equal to diose of the oboe. ® ^ 




Vlo. u- 
K. B. 

In the Adagio of one of my symphonies the English 
hom repeats the phrases of the oboe in the lower 
octave, like the voice of a yoiidi replying to a girl 
in a pastoral dialogue. Then, at the end oi the piece, 
it reiterates fragments of these }dirases with a hoQow 
accompaniment of four kettledrums, while the rest 

of the orchestra remains alent. The mood of absent 
and oblivion, of sorrowful loneliness, which arises in 
the soul of many a listener at the recurrence of this 
melancholy tune, would be far less poignant if it were 
played by another instrument (Eramplc 70.) 


The combination of the low tones of the English 
hom with those of the clarinets and French horns 
during a tremolo of the double-basses produces an 
effect as characteristic as it is novel; it is particularly 
well suited to cast a menacing color upon musical 
ideas in which fear and anguish predominate. This 

effect was known neither to Mozart nor to Weber 
or Beethoven, A magnificent example is to be found 
in the duet in the fourth act of “Les Huguenots”; 
I think Meyerbeer was the first to have used it in 
the theater. (Example 71.) 


No. 71. Lcs Huguenots, Act IV 




Tn Fas. 


ovl, in oi'ai 
/a, du luBsi 

(den AttSdnidt das Singers oadLaluneiid) 



Blar. < 
in A.\ 


in H* 

I mxMmmeod the study of the combinations of 
the Engli s h Ikhh with flutes and claxinets in the 
fint and second acts of ‘^Lohengxin**. The Heckel- 
clarina, invented by Heckel, may be mentionj»i 
hexe. It is tuned in w and has the foBowxng range: 

Indadiiia the ciuviBatle 

Hie h^est tones 
startmg from Cl 

axe risky. Hiis instrument cewresponds to die 
alphom and is more appropriate than the weak 
English horn or the trumpet, which is 
here, for rendering the merry tune in the third act 
of "Tristan^ 

In ccxnposhiQns udiere the general character is one 
of melancholy, the fiequcnt^use of th^ En glish horn, 
hidden in the mass of instruments, u perfectly suit- 
able. la this case only one oboe part need be writ- 

ten; the second one is assigned to the English horn. 
Gluck has employed this instrument in his Italian 
operas "Tclcnnu^o” and “Qrfeo”, but without any 
xnanifest purpose and widiout mui^ effect; he never 
introduced it in his Fiendi operas. Mozart, Beethoven 
and Weber did not use it at all — ^I do not know why. 

The baritone oboe, constructed by F. Lor6e in. 
Paris, is a new accession to the orchestra. It has 
recently found a rival in Wilhdm Hdckel’s Hedcel- 
phon. The latter has this range: 


It sounds an octave lower than the oboe 
a rich, harmonious timbre. The four behest tones 

(starting from 
forte, and then 

) can be used only in 
not without some ri^. 



The Bassoon 

The bassoon is the bass of the oboe* ; it has a 
range of more than three octaves and is written in 
two clefs, the F-cIef and tenor-clef: 

It is not advisable to go above the last Bb. 

Wagner carries the bassoon up to the high G 
in his “‘Meistersingeri* where he depicts the pitiable 
condition of Beclonesser after his thrashing- (Ex- 
ample 72.) 

The high Eb jf - can now be quite 

easily produced, ^ “F ^ but its production 
is harmful to the embouchure of the 


*Through the courtesy of M. Gevaert, I heard in the 
Brussels Conservatory a douUe-bass oboe, whose tone had 
not the dightest dmilarity with the low tones of the 
bassoon. It was^ down to the extreme depth, the typical 
shawm timlune of the oboe. If, in the near future, our 
ears should demand even finer diffezentiations of sound 
and a still greater wealth of tonad colon, we might re- 
introduce this instrument into the mchestra; thus, eac h 
individual timbre would be represented by a whole family 
group instead of the one or two memben we have at 

What wealth of contrasts is to be found in a ccanbi- 
nation ci : 

2 small flutes 1 

4 large flutes « flute family 

1 or 2 alto flutes } 

1 darinet in Ab ^ 

2 clarinets in F i 

2 clarinets in Eb f 

4 or 6 clarinets in Bb ? claxinet family 
2 banet^horns ( 

1 bass clarinet \ 

1 double-bass darinet/ 

It first octnirred to me to devel<^ this idea when one 
of the professors at the Brussels Conservatory had 
Mozart’s G-minor Symphony played to me in an arrange- 
ment for 22 daiinets, nanu^: 

1 clarinet in Ab 

2 clarinets in £b 

12 darincts in Bb 

4 basset-horns 
2 bass clarinets 
1 double-bass clarinet 

The wealth of tone colon emanating from the vmoqs 
combinations of the clarinet family drw my attention to 
the many treasures still hidden in the orchestra^ waiting 
to be raised by a dramatist and tone-poet able to interpret 
them as the sensitive expression of new color symbols 
and as the characterization of new and subtler emotions 
and nervous vibrations. 


oboe family 


The keys with which the bassoon is now furnished 
permit the production of the two low notes ip ■ ' ■ 
which were formerly out of its reach. ^ ' 

For the low A 
soon players have 
double-bell with 



= in “Tristan” the bas- 
to attach a so-called 
an A-key, The low 

are stopped with the 
of the left hand, only 

with the little finger. 

The fingering of the bassoon is the same as that of 
the fiute. Many trills at the two extremes of its scale 
are impossible: 


Bb jMxnetimes a 
I jifctietoo]ow « 

I The tiills marked are easily playable today. 


I powi.. dig, u imwm II good , 

This instrument leaves much to be desired in the 
matter of purity intonation. It would probably 
gain more dian any other wind instrument if it were 
constructed according to Boehm’s system. 

The bassoon is great value in the orchestra on 
ntimerous occasions. Its tone is not very strong and, 
being devoid of brilliance or nobility, has a tendency 
tows^ the grotesque. This should ^ways be kept in 
mind when the instrument is used prominently. Its 
low tones furnish an excellent bass to the whole group 
of wood-wind instruments. The bassoon is ordinarily 
written in two voices, but large orchestras being always 

provided with four bassoons, four real parts may be 
written or, still better, three, because the lowest part 
can then 1^ doubled an octave below to reinforce the 
bass. The character of its high tones has something 
painful and suffering about it, I might even say, some- 
thing miserable, which may to used occasionally with 
surprising effect in a slow melody or in an accompani- 
ment. Thus the odd little clucking sounds heard in 
the Scherzo of Beethoven’s C-minor Symphony to- 
ward the end of the decrescendo are pr^uced solely 
by the somewhat forced sound of the high tones (Ad 
and G) of the bassoons. (Example 73.) 

No. 73. Symphony in C minor, 3rd movement 



Rapid passages of slurred notes may be successfully 
employed; they sound well if written in the favorite 
keys of the instrument, i.e. in D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, A, 
and thdu: relative minor keys. For instance, the bas- 

soon passages in the bathing scene of the second act 
of “Les Huguenots” produce an excellent effect. (Ex- 
ample 75.) 

No. 75. Les Huguenots, Act II 



Blar. in B. 

Ugato deleemente 

Pk]i.ln Be.B. 


mit DSnirar. 

Sopnn 1- 

Sofnui II- 

Sopnw nx. 

Jennas bean-tes, 

IktMSd^€k0H koimu, . 

soosee fonlU 
- lum 

Jennes beent^ 



Mozart has expressed wonderfully the character 
of tender sk\*ness, so peculiar to the upper and 
medium range of the bassoon in piano, in the duet 
in “Don .Giovanni’*, “La ci darem la mano**, at 
Zer}ina*s words, “Vorrei e non vorrei”. A peculiar- 
ity in the scores of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven 
is the bassoons’ joining in the melody of the treble 
in one or two octaves. They frequently sound like 
the voice of an old man humming the favorite 

melodies of his youth — ^for instance in “Le Nozze 
di Figaro**. 

Another example by Mozart is to be mentioned 
where he employs the bassoon with the oboe, two 
octaves below the latter, to express an affected coy- 
ness: in the scene in “Cosi fan tutte** where Fior- 
diligi tries to hide her weakness in high-sounding 
retorts to the wooings of her disguised suitors. (Ex- 
ample 76.) 

No. 76. Cosl fan tutte 




Weber draws from the bassoon heart-rending 
tones of suffering innocence — in the cavatina 
{third act; of Euryanthe languishing alone in 
the forest- The overtones of the bassoon are par- 
ticularly strong. It once occurred to me that in 

the A5-minor chord in my tone-poem “Death and 
Transfiguration” played by trombones, the English 
horn, bassoon and double-bassoon; a Ca was fre- 
quently audible, apparently as an overtone of the 
bassoon or double-bassoon, Example 78.) 

No. 78. Death and Transfiguration 








The Tenoroon (Basson Quinte) 

The tenoroon is a diminutive of the bassoon; its 
pitch is a fifth higher. It has about the same range 
and is also written in tw'o clefs, but it is a transposing 
instrument. Its B?-scale: 

actually produces an F-scale: 

The tenoroon occupies the same position above the 
bassoon as the Eziglish horn below the oboe. The Eng- 
lish horn is written a fifth above the real sound, 
tenoroon a fifth below. The tenoroon therefore plays 
in F when the bassoons play in C, and in G when 
they are in D, etc. This instrument is missing in 
most orchestras; but it is successfully replaced in its 
upper two octaves by the English horn. Its tone has 
less feeling but more power than that of the English 
horn. It would be of excellent effect in military bands. 
It is a great pity, and of great detriment to 'wind- 
instrument bands, that bassoons should be entirely 
excluded from them, whereas the rough and harsh 
sound of these orchestras could be considerably sof- 
tened by an appropriate number of large and small 

The Double-bassoon 

The double-bassoon is to the bassoon what the 
double-bass is to the violoncello; that is, its sound is 
an octave lower than the 'written notes. It is as- 
signed a range of not more than two octaves and a 



^ The first two notes of this scale arc produced with 
difficulty and can hardly be distinguished on account 
of their extreme depth. 

It is obvious that this instnnnent, because of its 
extrme ponderousness, is only suitabfe for grand har- 
monic effects and for bass movements of moderate 
speed. Beethoven used it in the finale of his G-minor 
Symphony and in that ot his Ninth Symphony. 

{ He aho used it in the dungeon scene of his **Fi- 
dcBo” (cf- Exampfe p. 124) . As stated above in 

connecticHi with the violoncellos, the lowest .tones 
I of the bassoons have also, in my opinion, no bass 
: character — unless they are doubl^ by the low 
horns. In the modem orchestra, where even the 
: smallest string quartet is weighted down by at least 
six double-ba^es, the wood-wind section requires a 
I bass foundation of at least one double-bassoon — 
I the natural bass of the wood-wind instruments, one 
I bass clarinet, and perhaps one double-bass oboe if 
the composer wants to give the whole wood-wind 
group an independence matching approximately 
that of the string quintet. (Even the plain bass 
; clarinet can serve as the bass for the three bassoons; 

; cf. the chapter on the bass clarinet.) The double- 
1 bassoon has recently been much improved by Wil- 
^ helm Heckel, and its use is urgently recommraded. 

The double-bassoon is 'very valuable in large bands, 
but only few players care to use it. Occasionally it is 
replaced by die ophideide, whose tone, however, has 
not die same depth, since it is in unison 'with the 
ordinary bassoon, and not in the octave below; be- 
sides, the character of its timbre is endrely different 
from that of the double-bassoon. I think, therefore, 
that in the majority of cases it is better to do without 
the douMe-ba^oon part than to replace it in such 



The third register comprises the following tones: 


Four r^iisters are distinguished on the clarinet: 
the low, the chalumeau, the medium and the high. 
The first comprises this part of the scale: 

(The low tones do not sound well; they are 
rather hollow.) 

A considerable number of diatonic progressions, 
ar{>eggios and trills, formerly impracticable on the 
clarinet, arc no longer so thanirg to the ingenious 
mechanism of keys attached to the instrument. They 
will become even easier as soon as the system of Sax 
is generally adopted. 

I .Sharp keys are easier on Sax clarinets, those with 
I flats on the Gherman ones ^by Iwan Mueller, im- 
* proved by Baermann) . 

It is advisable to avoid, for the time being, pas« 
sages like the following — or to write them only in 
moderate tempo: 



The favorite keys of the clarinet are mainly the 
keys of C, F, G; furthermore — Er, Ar, D, and 
their relative minors. 

;| This view is now out of date. My clarinetist in 
Berlin tells me that with the modem, improved 
keys he actually prefers playing in B: major to 
i playing in Bs major on the clarinet in Br. 

Since there are clarinets in different keys, their ap- 
propriate use makes it unneccsi^aiy' for the performer 
to play in keys with many sharps or fiats, such as 
A, E, B, Ds, Gs, and their relative miners. 

There are four clarinets in general use today: 
The small clarinet in £?. which should be assigned 
a range of not more than three octaves and two notes : 

It is a minor third above the clarinet in C and is 
■written transposed; thus, to produce the following 

:n C 1 



V4sry paor 


ra«'able j 

' — 


good ^ 


very poor j 


iia A i 

^ry SX>o^ 





SO'Od j 

The expressions ‘‘good”, ‘‘poori’, “passable” do not 
refer here to the difficulty of executing the phrases 
used as exam^ples, but merely to the difficultv- of the 
keys in which they are written. However, the more 
difficult ke\*s. such as A and E, need not be entirely 
avoided in simple and slow passages. 

;; The clarinet in C is indispensable for certain 
pieces of brilliant character. Cf. the Entr'acte in 
j| MchuFs “Joseph” .Example 79, and the ballet in 
Auberis “La Muette de Portici” ; Example 80). It 
is also preferable for passages demanding brighter 

one must write 

The clarinet in C, the clarinet in Bb, and that 
in A. The two latter instruments have the same range 
as the clarinet in C; but as the one sounds a major 
second and the other a minor third lower than the 
clarinet in C, their parts must be w’ritten a major 
second and a minor third higher, respectively. 


The clarinet in D is used infrequently, though 
iwdeservedly so. Its tone is pure and possesses con- 
siderable power of penetration. It could be used ad- 
vantageously ' in many instances. 

Unfortunately, it is even today usually replaced 
by the clarinet in £!?, in spite of the important 
role given to it in Liszt’s “\lazeppa” and Wagner's 
“Ride of the Valkyries”. 1 have used it for roguish 
and droll humor in mv “Till Eulenspiegel” (Ex- 
ample 81). 

No. 81 a and b. Till Eulenspicgel 

a) , 

(Lniner sehr lebkaft) 


EsglHbm. D. 

dm. . 





Clarinet in A: 


Independently of the particular character of their 
timbre— of which I shall speak presendy — ^it wall be 
seen that these different clarinets are very useful in- 
sofar as facilit>- of execution is concerned. 

{This is no longer necessary.) 

It is to be regretted that there are not still more 
darinets *avai!able. Those in the keys of B and D, 
for instance^ are rarely found; yet they would be of 
great value to composers on numerous occasions. 

The high clarinet in F is the one to be most 
1 1 highly recommended; it has now been introduced 
; into all military bands. There are also clarinets in 
: A^. High darinets in F and E? should be used in 
I greater numbers in the modem orchestra. They are 
i ; die only instruments capable of counter-balancing 
I a strong body of stringed instruments and the mas- 
sh-e effect of the brass especially in polyphonic 
I pieces} ; for the oboes are quite useless in the hig^ 

I regbter, and the flutes are without character in 
;! fmrte. Compare, for instance, the symphonies of 
Gustav Mahler. — It may be mentioned here that 
i: an improvement of the piccolo would also be 
I hig^y desirable, as its tone and technique are still 
I in a zather primitive stage. 

The small clarinet in high F, formerly much used 
in military music, has bem displaced almost com- 

S detely by die clarinet in This is justified by the 
act diat the latter is less screamy, and is quite ade- 
quate for the keys ordinarily used in compositions for 
band. Clarinets lose proponionally in purity, sweet- 
ness and nobilitv as their key is raised h^her and 
higher above that of ; this key is one of the finest 
on the instruznent. 

The tone of the clarinet in C is harder than that 
of die one in Bb and has much less charm. The small 
clariziet in has penetrating tones, w*hich tend to 
become rather commonplace beginning from the A 
above the stave. It has been used in a modem sym- 
phony to parody and degrade a melody; the dramatic 
meaning of the piece requires this rather strange 
trazisformation. The small clarinet in F has a still 
more marked tendency in this direction. Conversely, 
the lower the izistninient becomes, the more veil^ 
and melancholy are the tones it produces. 

Generally, p^ormers should use only the instru- 
menu indicate by the composer. Since each of these 
instrument has its own peculiar character, it may be 
assumed that the composer has preferred one or the 
other instrument for the sake of a definite timbre and 
not out of mere whim. To persist — as certain virtuosos 
do— in p]ayin|; everything cm the clarinet in Bb by 
tiansposition, is an act of dislovalty towazd die com- 
pcaer in znost instances. This cfiskyalty becomes even 
more obyknis and culpable when, for example, the 
clarinet in A is prescribed by the composer just in 
ondcr tp reach the kvw E (producing Ct). Ibis oc- 
cun frequently. 

Real sound: 

\Vhat would the player of the clarinet in Bb do in 
such a case, since its low E only reaches the D? 

Clarinet in Bb; 


Real sound: 

He would transpose the note to the higher cx:tave 
and thus destroy the effect intended by the author. 
This is intolerable! 

c The new clarinets in Bb and bass clarinets have 
I a C$-key. Bass clarinets in A are now used very 
i rarely; one fzequently has to transcribe them in Bb. 

It has been mention^ above that the clarinet has 
four registers. Each of these has its own distinct qual- 
ity of tone. The high register has something piercing, 
which can be used ozdy in the fortissimo of the orches- 
tra or in the bold runs of a brilliant solo. (Some of 
the very h^h notes can, however, be sustained piano 
if the tone has been properly prepared.) The medium 
and chalumeau registers are suited to cantabile melo- 
dies, arpeggios and runs. The low register, especially 
in sustauui^ ziotes, produces those coldly Areatening 
effects, those dark accents of quiet rage which Weber 
so ii^niously invented. 

; ; Wagner utilized cievezly the change of registers 
I; in the third act of his “Meistersinger**, with 
! David’s words, ‘‘Nur gestem, weil der Junker ver- 
; sungen”. (Example 82.) 



li<kl»vCM(«n, w«il4kr tete w - ■fagn.hab ieh dwKoxbllirBldit ab-ge- 

When one desires to use the penetrating sound of 
the highest notes prominently, but if it is feared that 
the sudden attack of these difficult tones would be 
too risky for the performer, the entry of the clarinet 
should be hidden imder a strong chord of the entire 
orchestra until the tone has become firm and clear. 



Violins a 

Opportunities for using these high sustained tones 
appropriately are, however, verv- rare. 

The character of the tones of the medium register 
is imbued with loftiness tempered by a noble tender- 
ness. appropriate for the expression of the most poetic 
feelings and ideas. Only the expression of frivolous 
gaiety and even of artless joy seems to be denied to 
the instrument. The character of the clarinet is epic 
rather than idyllic — ^like that of the horns, trumpets 
and trombones. Its voice is that of heroic love; and 
if the mass of brass instruments in grand military 
symphonies suggests the idea of warriors covered with 
glittering armor, marching to glory or to death, so 
do numerous clarinets playing in unison seem to rep- 
resent loving w'omen who, w4th proud glances and 
deep affection, exalted by the sound of arms, sing 
during the battle, crow^iing the rictors or dying with 
the vanquished. 

i Compare Bruennhilde’s exit in the second act of 
“Walkuere” Example 83;. 

No. 83 . Walkuere, Act n 




I haw never been aUe to hear military music trom 
afar witfarat being profoundly moved by that femi- 
niiie quality of tcme fueaent in the clarinets; it ha s 
almys left me with impressions simtUr to those le- 
cerved wfaen reading ancient epic poems. This beau- 
tiful inadtruxnental soprano, so resonant, so rich in 
peaetrati]^ accents when employed in gains 

as a soio^instruiiicnt in delicacy what it loses in power 
briUiance. Nothing is so virginal axxl pure as Ae 
tn^ given to certain melodies by Ae tone of a 
daisnet in the medium register, if played by a mas- 
ter of instnooeaL 

; . ® beautifully fdt^ but it is somewhat ono- 

; nded. In my opmion, the clarinet can enpreu all 
: gtadationt of feeliog if the registers are properly 
i employed, the mdodic lines sUUuHy femmed and 
; Ae mstramem appropriate Uended wi A other 
; grosqis. Tims Ae sarne clarinet wfaiA hm 
sweetness and irmnrroce in Weber's works has be- 
I come the embodiment of demonic sensuality in 
Wagner's **!^anHbr* and pmciahns in Kundry's 

scenes Ae dreadful and haunting voices of seduc- 
tion — ^unforgettable to anyone who has ever heard 
; Aem. Of course, one must not overlook Ae fact 
that eac h particular diaractcr is determined not 
only by the timbre of Ae instrument, but also by 
Ae form of Ac Aexne and by Ac Aythm, har- 
memy and melody. 

There is no oAer wind instrument which can pro- 
duce a tone, let it swell, decrease and die away as 
beautifully as Ae clarinet. Hence its invaluable abil- 
to render distant sounA, an echo, Ae reverbera- 
tion of an echc^ or the charm of Ac twilight. I know 
no more admirable example of such shading tban the 
dreamy melody of the clarmet, accompanied by Ae 
tremolo of Ae strings, m Ae All^ro of Ae ^Frei- 
schuetz^ overture. Is this not Ae lonely maiden, Ae 
bimd betrothed of the huntsman, wiA her eyes 
raised to heavm utterix^ her tender plaint, amidst 
the rustling noise of Ae deep forest Aaken by Ae 
storm?— O Weber! 





The clarinet, more capable than any other wood- 
wind instrument to produce all dynamic shadings 
from a whispered pp to a crying ff, can there- 
fore reproduce the finest nervous impulses of a 
melody entrusted to it within the well-balanced 
framework of the modem orchestra. Its enormous 
range of almost four and a half octaves makes it 
more flexible than any other wood-w'ind instrument. 

In the octave -^ - V ■ j the character of 

its tones is indif- ^ Cerent in piano; 

in forte it has something com- 

f mcnplace. Since the arrangement of the modem 
j orchestral ncore always places the clarinets on the 

I * stave under the oboe, the carelessness of composers 
and the ignorance of beginners frequently cause 
them to place the clarinet in chor^ below the 
oboes. In four-part chords the tw’o lower parts 
should best be given to the oboes, whose strong, 
deep tones form a much better foundation for the 
high register of the clarinets than the slack and 
dull m^um register of the latter for the oboes 
placed above them. An example of this is found 
in the march from “Tannhaeusei^* ^Example 85). 

No. 85. Tannhaeuscr, Act II (March) 


Kleine FI. 
(auf der gr.Fl.) 


2 0b. 

2 A. 







inE. i 

2 Wald-Hmr. f 






InH. ' 






'FF r r ‘ 


' ■ A '’M ■— 

f j 


I take the libert\" of quoting from my Monodrama 
*‘Lc3io*’ another anaSogous — if not similar — effect of 
a clarinet melody whose fragments, interrupted by 
rests, are also accompanied by a tremolo of a section 
of the stringed instruments while the double-basses 
play an occasional low* note pizzicato, thus giving the 
haimony a hea\y pulsation, with the harp introducing 
fragments of scarcely audible arpeggios. Howwer, in 
order to make the sound of the clarinet as vague and 

remote as possible in this instance, I had the instru- 
ment enveloped in a leather bag serving as a mute. 
The sadly murmuring and half-blurred sound of this 
solo, repeating a melody pre\'iously heard, has always 
made a deep impression upon the listeners. This 
shadow-like music creates a somber sadness and tends 
to provoke tears — beyond the power of the most 
dolorous tones; it has a melandoly similar to the 
trembling harmonies of the aeolian harp. (Example 
86 .) 

No. 86. Lelio, Monodrame Lyrique, Le Retour a la Vie 

Klar. in A. 


nit DiEcpfier t Das lastmment lat In eiaen Beatel tou Lelnwand Oder Lcder einsuhgUeii.) 


Cwla von ferae) Solo. 


Beethoven as^igned the A-nnajor melody in the im- 
mortal Andante "of his Seventh Symphony to the 
medium range of the clarinet on account of its mel- 
ancholy, noble character and in order to bring out 
al! its inherent painful plaintiveness- Gluck first wTote 
the ritomelle of Aiceste's aria, “‘Ah, malgxe moi” for 
the flute; but then- doubtless percei\-ing that the tone 
of this instrument is too weak and not sufficiently 
noble to render a theme of such desolation and 
mournful grandeur, he gave it to the clarinet- It is 
the clarinets again which sing, together with the 
human voice, that other aria of Alceste, “‘Ah, divinit^s 
ixnplacables’* with its expression of sorrowful resigna- 
tion. An effect of an entirely different kind results 
from the three slow notes of the clarinets in thirds in 
an aria from Sacchini’s op>era “OEdipe”, “Votre cour 
devint mon asile”. These two clarinets in thirds, softly 
descending previous to the entry of the singing voice 
while the two lovers exchange a tender glance, have 
an excellent dramatic meaning and pzt^uce a fine 
musical effect. The two instrumental parts serve here 
as a symbol of love and purity. Listening to them, one 
sdmost sees Eryphile mcmestly casting down her eyes. 
It is truly admunable! 


If one substitutes two oboes for the clarinets, then 
the effect is destroyed. Hiis wonderful orchestral ef- 
fect is missing, however, in the printed score of Sac- 
diinfs masterworic; but I have been moved by it too 
often durii^ performances not to feel sure of my 

Neither Sacchini nor Gluck nor any other great 
master of the period availed himself of the low range 
of the instrument. I do not know the reason for thw 

Mozart appears to be the first who used it for accom- 
paniments of a somber character as, for instance, in 
the trio of masks in “Don Giovanni”. It was reserved 
for Weber to discover all that is awful in the timbre 
of these low tones when employed in sustaining som- 
ber harmonies. In such cases it is better to write them 
in two voices than to combine the clarinets in the 
unison or in octaves. The more numerous the notes 
in the harmony, the more striking will be the effect. 
If, for example, three clarinets are available for the 
chord C^-E-Bb, this diminished seventh, if well mo- 
tivated, well introduced and scored in this fashion, 
would have an awesome aspect, whose gloom might 
be increased even further by the addition of the low 
G on a bass clarinet: 

The anxiety of Bruennhilde, thinking longingly 
of Sie^ried, and the presentiment of the approach- 
ing disaster could not be expressed more magnifi- 
cently than has been achiev^ in the incomparable 
solo passage of the two clarinets in the entriacte 
music before the last scene of the first act of 
“Goetterdaemmerung** (Example 87 ). 


No. 87- Goetterdaemmcrung, Act I 

"WIiAiiicfafcz&idbil? %inur sdnrSl. 


The Alto Clarinet 

This is simply a clarinet in low F or Eb, and con- has their full range. It is wiitten transposed; the first 

sequently a fifth below the clarinets in C and ; it one is a fifths and the second one a major sb^ above 

the real sound. 

Alto cUr. in F 
Actual pitch 

Alto clar. in Eb 
Actual pitch 

It is a very beautiful instrument, but unfortunately is not to be found in all well-constituted orchestras. 

The Bass Clarinet 

Still lower in range than the preceding, it is a full 
octave below the clarinet in Bd. There is also a bass 
clarinet in C fan octave below the clarinet in C), 
but the one in Bb is much more common. Since it 
is exactly the same instrument as the ordinary clarinet 
built in larger dimensions, its range is also much the 
same. The reed of the bass clarinet is somewhat 
weaker and more covered than that of the other clari- 
nets. Tile bass clarinet is not intended to replace the Its lowest notes are the best; but because of the 

hig^ clarinets with its upper notes, but to extend their slowness of their vibrations they should not foUow 

range dowiiward. Yet the effect of doubling the high one another too rapidly. Meyerbeer gave the bass 

tones erf &e clarinet in Bb in the lower octave by the clarinet an eloquent monologue in the trio of the 

bass clarinet is very beautiful. It is WTitten, like the fifth act of “Les Huguenots” (Example 90) . 

No. 90. Les Huguenots, Act V 






The biiset-Lcrn dilfcr^ fron: ti:e lito cl:*r:ntt in Icn’ F 
only by hivinp ihe added little brais bril extending its 
luvvtr vnd. .-nd by it* faealty to descend chromatically 
to C* a t:i;rii Inwer :L:n the Iiwest note of :hr clarinet. 

rr.clji.r,; th« jlirossatk inter va1« 

The tone* above this range are very risky; besides* there 
is no good reason for employing them, since the clarinets 
can produce them without any diiBculty and with much 
more purib\ 

On the basset-horn, as on the bass clarinet, the low 
tones are the iinest and the most characteristic. It should 

be observed, however^ that those below 


c-m only be played slowly and detached from each other. 
A passage like the following would not be practicable: 

Mozart used this beautiful instrument in two voices 
to darken the color of the harmony in his Requiem; he 
also assigned to it some important solos in his opera "La 
Clemensa di Tito" — 

and employed it in wonderful combinations in his 
i; "*£ntfuehrung ans dem Serail" and especially in the 
solemn arias of Sarastro in “Die Zauberfloete.** 

The basset-horns are suitable as soft middle voices 
; and for filling in the harmony, particularly when one 
; wants to avoid the more distinct timbres of violas and 
bassoons or the characteristic low clarinet tones. 
However, as filling-in voices they can be replaced just 
; as well by the French horns, which adapt themselves 
;; to any timbre; this is why Richard Wagner made the 
most extensive use of the latter. The Adagio from 
!; Mozart’s Serenade for 18 wind instruments (K. 861) 
!: ofFers a wonderful example of the above described 
;! application of the basset-hom. 


I Its range is that of the double bassoon, with the | the bass clarinet (corresponding to the double-bass 

{ timbre of the clarinet It provides the lower octave to | oboe.) 


The manofaeture of these instruments, which remain- 
ed almost in its infancy for so long a time, has now pro- 
gressed to a point where excellent results may be expec- 
ted. Great advances have already been made by M. 
Adjlphe Sax. an inventive and skilled manufacturer in 
Paris. By slightly lengthening the tube of the clarinet 
toward tlie 1^31, an additional semitone was gained at 
the lower end of its range; the new instrument can now 

produce the or The medium 

, of poor 

become both easy and effective. The tones of the high 
register were once dreaded by composers and perform- 
ers ; only rarely and with extreme caution did they dare 
to use them. By means of a little key close to the mouth- 
piece of the clarinet. M. Sax has rendered these tones 
just as pure and mellow, and almost as easy, as those of 

the medium register. Even the highest 

quality on the old clarinet, is one of the best tones on 
the new one. 

The foUowjtog trills: 

arpeggios between F and F 

, the 


many other passages, formerly impracticable, have now 

which one hardly ever ventured to write, responds on the 
Sax clarinets without any preparation or effort on the 
part of the performer. He can play it pianissimo with- 
out the slightest risk, and it is at least as soft as that of 
the flute. To remedy the disadvantages of the wooden 
moutlipiecc (Le. dryness when used infrequently, mois- 
ture in the opposite case), M. Sax has given the ^arinet 
a mouthpiece of gilded metal, which increases the brilli- 
ance of its tone** without being subject to the changes 
affecting the wooden mouthpiece. This darinet has a 

*Manafactated hjr F. Besson ft Co., New York, and W. Hcdcd, BiebridL 

**It makes it brighter, but also harder.— 

Mj first ciarinetbi at the Berlin orchestra, Herr Schu- 
bert, after experimeBting with mouthpieces of marble, glass, 
porcelaiR, haid rubber and gold, hu gone biu^ to the wood- 
en moutlipieee because of the beaul^ of its tone. 

Clarinets in E6, made of metal, am said to be stUl hi use 
in some milltaiy bands. might perhaps serve as snb- 
stltates #6r the very hl|^ tnmpeCs requirad by Bad ta one 
of bis Brandenburg CoDoertos. 



^eater range, greater evenness, facility and purity than 
the old one; yet, the fingering remains unchanged or is 
[n some cases even simplified. 

M. Adolphe Sax's new bass clarinet is still further im- 
proved. It has 22 keys. It surpasses the old instrument 
ibove all by its perfect purity of intonation, also by its 
?qual temperament throughout the chromatic scale, and 
3 y its greater volume of sound. Its tube is very long, and 

the bell almost touches the ground when the player 
stands upright. This could have caused a considerable 
weakening of the tone; but the skillful manufacturer 
remedied it by attaching a concave metal reflector under 
the bell. The reflector not only prevents any loss of 
sound, but also permits the player to emit the tone in any 
direction and thereby even increases its sonority. The 
bass clarinets of M. Sax are tuned in B^. 


The Or(RncDr7. Large Flute 

This instrument, for a long time so imperfect in many 
aspects, has now achieved such perfection and evenness 
f tone that no further improvement remains to be de- 
ired. We owe this to the skill of some manufacturers 
nd to Boehm's method, following Gordon's discovery. 

The same will soon happen with the other wood-wind 
istruments. The purity of their tones remained far 
rom perfect as long as the holes were placed according 
a the natural distance of the fingers instead of the ra- 
onal division of the sound-tube, i.e. a division based on 
le laws of acoustics and determined by the nodal points 
f vibrations. Gordon and subsequently Boehm* started 
y boring the holes of their wind instruments at the 
oints fixed by acoustical laws without considering 
hether the fingers could reach these holes with ease, 
ith difficulty, or perhaps not at all. They felt sure tliat 
le difficult^ thus created would be resolved in the 
)urse of time through some new contrivances. 

After the instruments had been bored in this fashion 
id thus tuned to correct pitch, they invented a mechan- 
m of keys and rings which could easily be reached by 
le fingers of the player. This device opened or closed 
te holes which otherwise wuold not be accessible to the 
igers. This necessitated a complete change in finger- 
g; but the difficulty was soon conquered. In view of the 
impensations offered by the new instruments built ac- 
irding to Gordon's and Boehm's system* we have no 
mbt that they will displace the old wood-wind instru- 
ents within a few years. 

Unfortunately, this is still not so in Germany. 

Some of Boehm’s flutes as well as the old flutes 

have the B 

. but flutes without this low B are 

said to have a better intonation. The and B can 
still be produced in piano, the C only with caution. 

In forte and D can also be played. 

Wooden flutes have a finer tone than ones (sil- 
ver or gold), but the latter respond more easily. 

Just a few years ago the flute had a range of only two 
raves and a fifth: 

iBelttUina th* elffMBKtk isteraJs 

Two semitones below and three above were gradually 
added to this scale: this increased the range to three 
complete octaves: 

InelndSns the chronatie intervals 

However, not all flutists having instruments with the 
device necessary for producing the lowest C and C-, it 
is usually better not to use these tones in the orchestra. 
This restriction is no longer valid. I must not fail 
to warn the composer against using the high C as in 
mv '‘Heldenleben.” 



(Score p. 43 » 

The end of Act 2 of “Meistersinger" is also extreme- 
ly difficult for the flutes, especially in staccato; in 

legato the figure 

is easier. Compare 

also the end of “Goetterdaemmerung*', which is very 

difficult for the flute. The trill 


in the "Ride of tlie Valkyries" (fall score, p- 805) is 
very difficult to execute on the old flute. 

The two highest tones, B and C. are rather difficult 
to produce and sound somewhat shrill; they should not 

be einplo}wd in pianissimo. High 

tP ■ 


ever. can be sounded easily and srstained in the softest 
piano without any danger. 

The number of tones permitting trills was rather 
limited on the old flute. Thanks to the keys added to the 
new flute, major and minor trills are practicable over 
the greater portion of its range: 

, Praner, there are also Boehm clarinets, bassoons and oboes In use. 



The trills marked ^ are all practicable today; the 
[ two marked •^are impractical>le on the old flute unless 

a special key is provided for them. 

Up to the trill 

the modern mechan- 

{ ism also permits the execution in piano. 

On the flute built according to Boehm^s system all 
trills are practicable up to the extreme high range (i.e. 
from low to the highest C); moreover, their intona- 
tion is much purer. 

The flute is the most agile of all wind instruments. It 

is just as suitable for fast diatonic or chromatic passages 
— slurred or detached — as for arpeggios and figures 
with wide jumps. e.g. 

Even repeated notes* like those played staccato on the 
violin, can be played by means of dauble^tonguing: 

I A special effect on the Ante is the Flatiersunge 
tflotter-tonguing). (Of. my “Don Quixote”). It is 
applicable to tlie oboe and clarinet, The player pro- 
nounce** “drrrrr” during n moderately fast chromatic 
scale. Tlic effect is something like the sound of birds 
fluttering tiinmgh tlie air, or — in pp — like the soft 
chuckling of frolstsomc girls in the distance. 

The key* of I). G. C. F. E, and their rcla- 

tirc minA>rN in the favorite keys on tlic flute; the others 
are much more didScult. 

J Dii the contrtirr. keys with flats are easier. 

However, on Boehm flutes the key of is almost as 
easy l\ 

The sound of tl»e flute is soft in its mediom range, 
ratlirr piercing in iU high noU-s. and very cliaractcristic 

in its low register. The medium and high tones have no 
especially characteristic expression They are suitable 
for the most varied melodies and accents ; however^ they 
do not possess the artless gaiety of the oboe or the noble 
tenderness of the clarinet. One mighty therefore^ assume 
that the flute is an instrument almost devoid of expres- 
sion^ and that it may be used anywhere and for any pur- 
pose because of the facility with which it executes rapid 
passages or sustains the high tones so useful in the or- 
chestra for filling out the high harmonies. 

Generally speakings this is true; yet a closer scrutiny 
will show that the flute is endowed with a character 
peculiarly its own and with a special aptitude for ex- 
pressing certain feelings^ in which it is matched by no 
other instrument. For instance, if one desires to give an 
expression of desolation to a sad melody, combined with 
a feeling of humility and resignation, i^e weak medium 
tones of the flute, especially in C# minor and D minor, 
will certainly produce the intended effect. As far as I 
know, only one master knew how to avail himself of this 
pale tone-color — Gluck. When listening to the D-minor 
melody of the pantomime in the Elysian-Fields scene in 
"Orfeo”, one is immediately convinced that only a flute 
could play this melody appropriately. An oboe would 
be too chOd-like. and its tone not sufficiently clear. The 
English horn is too low. A clarinet would doubtless 
have been more suitable, but it would have been too 
strong for some of the passages; for even its softest 
tones cannot be reduced to the weak and veiled sound 
of the medium F and of the B^ above the stave, which 
imparts so much sadness to the flute in the key of D 
minor where these notes frequently occur. Finally, 
neither the violin, nor the viola, nor the violoncello — 
solo or in groups — could express this sublime lament of - 
a suffering and despairing spirit. It required precisely 
the instrument selected by the composer. Moreover, 
Gluck’s melody is conceived in such a way that the flute 
can follow every impulse of this eternal grief, still im- 
bued with the passions of earthly life. The voice starts 
almost inaudible, seemingly afraid to be overheard ; tlien 
its sighs softly and rises to the expression of reproach, 
of deep pain, to the cry of a heart torn by incurable 
wounds; gradually it sinks back into a plaint, a sigh 
and the sorrowful murmur of a resigned soul. Gluck was. 
Indeed, a great poet ! (Example 9S,) 














An effect remarkable for its tenderness can be achiev- 
ed by two flutes playing snccessions of thirds in the 
medinm range in the keys of E* and A*, which are so 
favorable to the soft timbre of this instrument, A bean- 
tiW example of this can be fonnd in the cavatina of the 

duet in “La Vestale": “Les Dieux prendront piti6^\ The 
tones G, F and linked together in the flutes 

in tills fashion, have something of the sound of a haur- 
monica. Thirds in the oboes, English horns or clarinets 
coold not produce a similar effect. 

Flute I 
Flute II 

\ery few composers know how to employ the low 
tones of the flute advantageonsly. However, Glnck in 
the reUgkras march in “Alceste" and later Weber in 
nnmemis passages of “Freischuets** have shown how 
effective they are in harmonies of a serious or dreamy 

character. As mentioned above, these low tones blend 
very well with the low tones of the English Ikmehs 
clarinets, providing the more subdued shade of a dark 






-deist die niOivoUilindB Zsa-lwr leOit. 

Non Aorl 

Ba! dannbe-STiffici&adii^fezbot. 

f d/m» Jr 

In his later works Wagner employed the Ante rery 
rarely, but always very characteristically, as, for inr 
stance, in the third act of “Tristan” — the fluttering 
of the flag on Isolde a boat (Example 96) ; in the sec- 

ond act of “Walknere” — ^the expression of frirolous 
volnptiousness with Friclca's words, “wie des Wech- 
sds Lust dn gewoennest*’ (Example 97) ; in the third 
act of **Tannlueiiser” — ^the expressioii of holiness. 

No. 96. TEISTAN, ACT m 

Lebhait. ] 

8 Fig; 



























SteiMfet, itaiviht Flar - 



No. 97. WAlHUEEffi. ACT H 

I One can see from these brief examples how raried 
are the expressive possibilities of even so soft and 
relatively neutral an instrument as the flute — in the 
hands of a musical poet utilising it for his sym- 
bolic language. 

Compare also the previou.sly quoted example from 
Weber’s “Freischuets” (Example p. 80). There is 
something wonderfully dreamy in the low, sustained 
tones of tlie two flutes as Agathe, during her prayer, be- 
holds the tree tops in tlie silvery light of tlie moon. 

The modem masters generally keep the flutes too per- 
sistently in the higher ranges. They always seem afraid 
that they will not be sufficiently clear amidst the mass 
of the orchestra. Consequently the flute* predominate 
in the ensemble instead of blending with it; the instru- 

mentation thus becomes liard and sharp rather than son- 
orous and harmonious. 

J (very true Indeed!) 

The flutes constitute a family just as numerous as 
that of the oboes and clarinets. The large flute — with 
which this chapter deals — is the one most frequently 
used. In normal orchestras it is generally used in two 
parts, although soft chords sustained by three flutes 
urould frequently produce wonderful eflfects. The com- 
bination of one high flute with four violins in a high;» 
sustained flve-part harmony sounds very charming. Al- 
though it is natural to assign the highest tones of the 
harmony to the first flute, there are many occasions 
where an inverse arrangement would be equally satis- 



(Hie Piccolo) 

It is an octave higher than the large flute. The fol- 
lowing notes, for example^ 

aciuallv sound like this: 

It has the same range as the large flute, with the excep- 

tion of the highest C 

^ which is difficult to 

produce ; 

I (also the high B) 

this tone is almost intolerably harsh and should there- 
fore be avoided. 

EvenB i:;T= 

is very harsh and can be employed 

only in a fortissimo of the entire orchestra. On the other 
hand, it is practically useless to write the notes in the 
lowest octave since they are scarcely audible. However, 
if one wants to use precisely this weakness of sound for 
a special effect, it is better to employ the corresponding 
tones in the second octave of the large flute. 

Piccolos, like all instruments with a loud and pene- 
trating sound, are frequenth' misused nowadays. In 
pieces of a joyful character, the tones of the second 

be used in varied 

dynamics. The higher tones 

are ex- 

cellent in fortissimo for violent and incisive effects — for 
example, in a thunderstorm or in a scene of fierce or 
infernal character. Thus, the piccolo is used very felici- 
tously in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Pastoral 
Symphony — sometimes alone, freely suspended over the 
low tremolo of. violas and basses, imitating the whistling 
of a storm not yet fully unchained; sometimes its high- 
est notes combined with the entire mass of the orchestra. 
Gluck, in the storm scene of his “Iphigenie en Tauride”, 
enhanced the shrillness of two piccolo flutes in unison 
by writing them, in a succession of chords, always a 
fourth above the first violins. The piccolos, sounding an 
octave higher, and the first violins thus form a series of 
elevenths, whose roughness and sharpness achieve pre- 
cisely the appropriate effect. (Examples 98 and 99.) 


SlaififtFl. I 
Grofie FI. (t B. 





In the chorus of Scythians in the same opera by Gluck 
the two piccolos double the turns of the violins an octave 
higher; these whistling tones, mingled with the ravings 
of the savage crowd and the rhythmic, incessant din of 
cymbals and tambourins are truly awe-inspiring. ,5ee 
Example 148., pJS92 ) 

The diabolical sneer produced by two piccolo dctes 
in thirds, in the drinking song of 'Treischuetz*', is well 
known. It is one of Weber's happiest orchestral effects: 

Spontini, in his magnificent Bacchanal of the Danai'des 
(later used as a drinking chorus in “Xurmahal”), first 
conceived the idea of combining a short, piercing cry of 
the piccolos with a stroke of the cymbal. Xobody before 
him had discovered the strange sympathy between these 
two instruments of such contrasting qualify. The re- 
sulting sound is like the stab of a dagger. The effect is 
very characteristic, even if only these two instruments 
are employed; but it is further increased by a dry stroke 
of the kettledrums combined with a short chord in the 
other instruments: 

These examples, as well as others which I might cite, 
are admirable in every respect Beethoven. Gluck, Web- 
er and Spontini used the piccolo in a fashion as ingeni- 
ous and logical as it was original. 

I The following quotation from “Tristan”, third act, 
owes its profoundly moving effect to the impressive 
tones of the small fiute: 

No. 100. TBISTAN, ACT m 




Elar. in B. 






But when I Lear this instrument doublincr. in the 
triple octave, the melody of a baritone voicr. or casting 
it*> screaming tones into a religious liarmony, or rein- 
forcing and sharpening the upper voice of an opera 
orchestra, out of the sheer love of noise, then this kind 
of instrumentation appears to me to be ju^t as shallow 
and stupid as is the melodic style to which it is usually 

The piccolo may also be of excellent effect in soft 

passages; it is mere prejudice to think it can be used 
only in forte. Sometimes it serves the purpose of continu- 
ing high-pitelied scales transgressing the range of the 
large fiute; in such cases the piccolo enters at the ex- 
tremity of the flute's high range. In this instance it is 
easy for tlie composer to conceal the transition from one 
instrument to the other in such a way that only one flute 
of extraordinary range seems to be playing. For in- 

In military music use is made of three other flutes^ 
which might also be employed advantageously in ordin- 
ary orchestras: 

1, The flute in ike third (the so-called flute in F)^ 

fl. The piccolo flute tn the miiior nialk (the so-called, 
small flute in whose C produces D^. It is a semi- 

whose C produces E^; this belongs to the transposing 
instruments in as stated above. It is a minor third 
higher than the ordinary flute ; besides^ its timbre is more 

tone higher than the piccolo^ and should be treated simi- 


Actual Pitdi rt f 

S. The pkeoio flute in the tenth (the so-called small 
flute in F}^ whose C produces and which we shall 
name the piccolo tenth-flute In £^. It is an octave higher 

than the third-flute and a tenth higher than the ordin- 
ary flute. 

It should never go beyond high A: l- ; even this 

excessively shrill tone is obtained with diSedltj^ 

Sooae orchestras also possess a large flute in the minor 

second, whose C produces and which must therefore 
be called, D^. It is toned only a semitone higher 
than the ordinary flute: 

All these flutes serve to increase the upper range of the 
ins trumen t Their thnhres have different cbaraeteriatics. 
They also facilitate the exeewtiDn and preserve the son- 


orousness of the Ante by permittuig it to |day in one of 
its favorable keys when the piece is written b a dificult 
key. For Instance, in a piece in it b obviously prefer- 


able to use, instead of the piccolo iiute in the octave, the 
one in the minor ninth (D^) ; for the latter then plays 
in D, which is much easier and more sonorous. 

It would complete the lower range of this family of in- 
struments (which, incidentally, might be made as num- 
erous as tile clarinet family, if necessary), and its soft 
and mellow timbre would produce excellent effects, eith- 
er as a contrast to the high flutes and oboes, or to lend 
more sonority and color to the very peculiar harmonies 
produced by combining the low notes of flutes, English 

It is a pity that the iiute d* amour has been allowed to 
fall into disuse. It was tuned in A, a minor third below 
the ordinary flute: 

horns and clarinets. 

I The most effective manner of employing the pic- 
colo flute is to use two piccolos unisono as is shown by 
Siegfried's scene at the forge in the first act of ^'Sieg- 
fried”. In “Der fiiegende Hollaender” Wagner even 
requires three piccolos to depict, most effectively, the 
howling and whistling of the hurricane. 


Theobald Boehm, to whom the flute owes so many 
of its improvements, constructed a flute in low G. in 
response to the need for lower-pitched and at the 
same time more sonorous and powerful flute tones. 
The notation as well as the fingering Is the same as on 
the flute in C (from low C to high A); but the “alto 
flute in G“ sounds a fourth lower. Its tone production 

is easier and more secure than that on the ordinary 
large flute; its tone is richer in shadings and can be 
increased to an astonishing power. All these advan- 
tages make it highly desirable that Felix Weingart- 
ner's recent initiative in reintroducing the instrument 
(in his “Gefllde der Seligen") will be followed by 


The organ is a keyboard instrument with pipes of 
wood and metal, which are made to sound by the wind 
sent through them by bellows. The greater or smaller 
number of series of pipes, differing in character of sound 
and in sixe, give the organ a corresponding number of 
9iop9, by means of which the org.ani5t can freely change 
the timbre, the volume of sound and the range of the in- 
strument. The voices are selected by a mechanism of 
small draw-knobs, called regUters. 

I The old tracker action (a mechanism of wooden 
strips and wire, which opened the tonc-valres and ad- 
mitted the wind) was put in motion by draw-stops 
with knobs. Organs with the now generally accepted 
pneumatic action, where air pressure discharges 
those mechanical functions, have to the right and 
left of the keyboard small register-plates, just large 
enough to carry the name of the stop. To be put in 
operation, they are slightly pressed down by a Anger. 

The present keyboard range of the instrument is 
usually from to f on tlie pedal keyboard, and 
from C to G'" or a"' on the manual. Older instru- 
ments have a range on the pedal from C to c' or d', 
on the manoal from C to 

The actual tonal range of large organs, however, 
surpasses that of tlie entire orchestra. An organ be- 

comes larger as it has more registers (stops, ranks) : 
this in turn causes an increase in the number of hand 
keyboards, or manuals. L'p to five manuals may be 
arranged one above the other — each operating a num- 
ber of registers. Since the pneumatic action has fur- 
nished an almost unlimited number of mechaiiieal 
devices for operating single and combined registers, 
the number of manuals has been somewhat reduced. 
Whereas one formerly spoke of tlie Great Organ, the 
Choir Organ, Positive, Eeht* Organ, etc., today this 
simply means. Manuals I i Principal), II, III and 
IV, which represent a deerescendo in the number of 
stops as well as in their power. The hand keyboard is 
based on the S‘ tone: its largest pipe (that for C) Is 
8 feet long and it sounds the tone whicli we call great 
C. The great number of 8' stops is supplemented by 
4'. s', 16', and even T stops The V stop is an octave 
higher than the 8’; tlie 2‘ stop — two octaves; the 1* 
stop— three octaves. Consequently, if the a’"-key 
of a r stop is pressed down, a""" is sounded. A itf 
stop is an octave lower, a 32' stop (provided in the 
manual of only the largest organs) is two octaves 
lower than the 8'; their C-keys produce Cj and C.^, 

The 16* tone is the basis of the foot keyboard or 



pedal, supplemented below bj the 82' tone, above bv 
the s', 4* etc. As a rule, the S' tone forms the core of 
the manual, the 16' tone of the pedal. 

In addition there arc stops named 1^', 2%', 
5*i*, lOH'. They produce, instead of the normal 
tone of a key, its fifth in different octaves, or — as the 
8^'^'— its third. Some stops, the so-called mixtures, 
are 2 rank, 8. 4, 5 rank etc., in addition to the founda- 
tion stop. This means that each key of these stops is 
connected with* two, three, four or five different 
pipes, and that consequently the C-key produces 
also c. its fifth, octave, tenth, etc. Playing a C-major 
triad in this stop causes, therefore, the most awful 
nonsense. It is obvioos that all these mixed stops may 
be used only — to reinforce, as it were, the harmonic 
partials — if the 8\ 4', 2' and 16' arc properly em- 

Hence, one distinguishes between foundation and 
mutaiion stops. The foundation stops include the 
basic stops (8'} and octave stops (16', 4', 2', l'); the 
mntation stops are those mentioned in the preceding 
paragraph. Some stops reinforce a particular range 
(e.g. the treble) and cover, therefore, only a part of 
the keyboard (in this case the upper part). They are 
called half-stops. 

Organ stops are either fiue~»tops or reed-Mtopi. In 
the fine-stops pipes have "lips'* forming the tone; in 
the reed-stops a brass reed is vibrated. Pipes are 
open or Miopped (gedackt). The pitch of stopped 
pipes is an octave lower than that of open pipes of 
the same siae. Stopped 8' has, therefore, a largest 
pipe of only 4'; the largest stopped pipe of the 16' 
sub-bass is 8'. 

Besides these stopped pipes, the basis of the organ 
tone proper is fomw^ by an open stop, the diapaeon, 
probably the oldest organ stop. It appears as 82', 16^ 
8' diapason in various scales (widths of pipes) and in 
various timbres, e.g. as Violin Diapason, Sanftprin- 
aipal etc., fnrtfaennore as 4' octave, 2' octave and sup- 
er-octave. In addition, there are the above mentioned 
mixtiires. likewise components of the typical organ 

On the other hand, the organ has a great number 
of stops imitating orchestral instruments, such as the 
numerous family of Ante stops, the Viola da Gamba, 
etc. The reed-stops belong to this class, for instance 
the Trombone, the Bombi^, the Trumpet, the Clair- 
on, the Clariziet, Oboe, English Horn, etc. Even the 
imitation of the human voice is attempted in a reed- 
stop (Vox hmnana). Far more snccessfnl is the imita- 
tion of the celestial voice (Vox coelestis). In this stop 
each key is provided with two soft pipes of slightly 
different pitch, which results in a peculiarly tremu- 
lant (beating) tone. Similarly, in the "Unda maris’* 
beats are pr od uce d between the same tone in different 

It is not advisable to list here the names of all the 
organ stops; they can be found in any textbook on 
organ constniction. The sensitive conductor should 
consider it his duty to examine closely the registers 
of the particular organ to be used; he should try them 
out and not rely on asiere names. IHfferent organ 
builders frequently give the same stop a different con- 
struction or at lestft different voicing. Besides, some 
names of stops are ambigsmis. and others defy any 
attempt at etymological explanatioB. 

The fingering on the organ is the same as on the 
pianoforte. A strict legato should be the basis of 
> an appropriate performance on the organ. Staccatia- 
; simo should be avoided in forte and, particularly, 
when reed-stops are used. Staccato is better on flute 
stops than on the diapason, and better in the lower 
ranges than in the high ones where it often gives the 
impression of mechanical orchestrion playing. All 
I this (as well as the choice of a more robust or more 
I delicate style of phrasing, and of a slower or faster 
tempo) depends not only on the character of the 

I stops, but also on the acoustics of the room. Presto 
runs are impossible on a viola da gamba stop, whde 
certain flute stops admit a beautiful, close arpeggio. 
A fugue by Bach has to played more slowly in an 
empty Gothic church, where each tone reverberates for 
a long time, than in a completely filled concert hall. 

Organ music is preferably written on three staves, 
the lowest of these pertaining to the pedaL The organ 
— ^like the pianoforte — may be considered from two 
different viewpoints in reference to its position within 
the family of instruments: first, as an orchestral in- 
strument joining the rest of the orchestra; secondly, 
as an independent and complete orchestra in itself. 
Berlioz’ remarks concerning this point reveal his keen 
observation in reference to the organ: 

It b doubtless possible to blend the organ with the 
various elements constituting the orchestra; this has 
been done many times. Nevertheless, assigning such 
an inferior function to the organ is actually a degrada- 
tion of this instrument. Moreover, it is obvious that the 
even and uniform tones of the organ can never fuse com- 
pletely with the extremely variable sounds of the orches- 
tra; there is a secret antipathy between these two musi- 
cal powers. Both the organ and the orchestra are kings; 
or rather, one is the emperor and the other the pope. 
Their tasks are different; their interests are too vast mi 
too divergent to be mixed together. Every time this 
strange combination has been attempted, either the or- 
gan predominates, or the orchestra — ^raised to excessive 
power — almost completely eclipses its adversary. 

Only the softest stops on the organ seem suitable for 
accompanying the voice. In general, the nature of the 
organ is to be the absolute ruler; it is a jealous and intol- 
erant instmment It seems to me that in one case only 
can the organ combine with a choms and orchestra on an 
equal basis, and even then only if it remains in solemn 
isolation. Tbis is the instance where a great mass of 
voices placed in the choir of a church at a considerable 
distance from the organ interrupts its chant from time 
to time to let the organ repeat it in part or in its en- 
tirety; perhaps also in a ceremony of a monmfnl char- 
acter where the chorus ' is accompanied by alternating 
laments of the organ and of the orchestra, placed in two 
extreme points of the temple, so that the organ sonnds 
like a mysterious echo of the orchestra. Such a manner 
of instrumentation could certainly produce magnificent 
and sublime effects. But even in this case tim organ 
would not actually blend with the otiber instruments; 
it would reply to them or question them. An alliance be- 
tween the two contending powers is possible only inas- 
much as neither of them would lose anything in dignity. 
Whenever 1 have heard the organ together with the or- 
chestra, the effect seemed to be negarive— -diminishing 
rather than increasing the power of the orchestra. 

} What Berlioz hu in mind here probably com- 



spends with what we have found in certain orchestral 
scores, e.g. Rubinstein’s. The clumsy and continuous 
employment of the wood-wind together with the brass 
results in a kind of dim and muddy color; the bril- 
liance of the orchestra is lost, its power seems to be 
paralyzed. The organ, with its many wood-winds, has 
a similar effect. The reed-stops, too, frequently im- 
pair the brilliance of the orchestral brass. Moreover, 
small differences of pitch — ^never entirely avoidable 
— add to the deleterious effect. 

We must remember, however, that the organ pro- 
vided the accompaniment for concertante orchestral 
instruments during long periods (cf. Bach's church 
music). The tone of some of the organ stops as well 
as an unlimited number of possible combinations (for 
which our organists frequently have no ear) blends 
far better with the tone of orchestral instruments than 
does the pianoforte. Vet we hear the latter instru- 
ment in our chamber music year after year in a fre- 
quently unhappy marriage with violins and even with 
wind instruments. There can be no doubt that many 
characteristics of the organ style have been taken 
over by the orchestra. 

Moreover, all this has been changed by recent pro- 
gress in the construction and mechanism of organs. 
The former absolutism of the organ has given way to 
a constitutional understanding with the orchestra. 
The organ has actually enriched the orchestra with 
many new colors and color combinations. Basically 
the organ is really nothing but a wind instrument — 
perhaps not a soulful individual like the oboe, but 
still a soulful mechanism, comparable with the atti- 
tude of some instrumentalists toward the dynamics of 
a particular piece. 

We are not thinking now of the RoUtchTcelier 
(crescendo pedal), already mentioned by Berlioz. 
This is a pedal by means of which all voices from the 
softest pp to the loudest ff can be made to enter on 
a tone or chord in rapid or slow succession, thus pro- 
ducing a kind of crescendo effect. For instance, a sus- 
tained C-major chord appears at first pp (Aeolina); 
more and more voices join it, first the pp stops ^ tlien 
p, mp, mf, f and ff stops, up to perhaps a fi-rank mix- 
ture and finally a trumpet stop. Then we return simi- 
larly in a decrescendo from the fff to the ppp of the 
Aeolina. The crescendo pedal can certainly produce 
powerful effects if combined with a great apparatus 
of orchestra and chorus. These effects can also be 
dynamically pleasing if the sequence of stops is ar- 
ranged with sensitivity. 

However, this “jerky” crescendo and dccrcscendo 
is of little use in accompanying, for exaiople, instru- 
mental vocal solos, where frequently only one 
stop or a small number of stops can be employed. The 
organ tone of these few stops remains rigid and stiff 
in contrast to the dynamic flexibili^ of the voice or 
the violin. The warmth radiated by an organ voice 
when it is first heard (similar to a low chord of the 
horns in p) is gradually transformed into tonal “cold- 

This is remedied by the reneiiam smell. It consists 
of a wooden box surrounding the organ pipes, with 
shatters in front and sometimes also on the sides, 
which can be opened and closed by means of a pedal. 
With the shutters open, the tone is clear, bri^t, f; 

if they are closed, it sounds distant, muted, pp; 
gradually opening and closing them provides the in- 
termediate shadings. In large organs this device is 
usually found only on the swell or solo manual — the 
softest and weakest keyboard of the organ, which 
contains from one-sixth to one-eighth of the stops, 
and only very soft ones. Here the Venetian swell has 
a very negligible effect. It is advisable to build all 
organ registers, i. e. all pipes, into this box and to 
furnish them with Venetian swells. Then a single 
stop as wall as the entire organ sound could be in- 
creased and decreased at will. 

The dynamics of the organ — such as crescendos — 
become even more perfect if the crescendo pedal is 
combined with the Venetian swell — ^by employing, 
for example, first the crescendo pedal with 'closed 
shutters, and then opening them. 

Some organists are satisfied with a crescendo pro- 
duced by the rigid addition of voices through the 
crescendo pedal (for it always lets the voices or regis- 
ters enter in the same order). Even if this increasing 
and decreasing is done musically, i.e. in accordance 
with the musical phrases (which, unfortunately, is 
rarely the case), it becomes monotonous after a while. 
Frequently the composer requires a sequence of stops 
different from that provided by the crescendo pedal; 
or the conductor considers this kind of crescendo 
harmful to the ensemble tone of the orchestra. In 
these cases the organist will have to forego his Boli- 
schweller-“virtaosiiy” and arrange with a “stop- 
drawer” (and page-turner at the same time), wbo 
will be inAspensable in any case, to take care of the 
increasing and decreasing of the tone by adding or 
taking off accurately predetermined stops. Registra- 
tion is also greatly facilitated in pneumatic, electro- 
pneumatic and the impending purely electrical organs 
by the great number of mechanical draw-stops sup- 
plementing the sounding stops. They are little plates, 
pushbuttons or pedals, which make it possible to alter 
very quickly any number of combinations of registers. 
There are combination stops, fixed and free combina- 
tions, which are arranged before the performance and 
put into action by a slight touch. One can also couple 
the different manuals with each other and transfer 
one manual to another, or even make the pedal voice 
playable on the manual. 

Unfortunately, too little care is given to tliis mat- 
ter of “instrumentation” of pieces on the organ; the 
orchestral effect is thus frequently impaired. The 
manifold sound effects planned by modem compos- 
ers through the combination of orchestra and organ 
cannot be indicated precisely because of the diversity 
of organs; they have to be left to the intelligence of 
organists and are frequently distorted. In tl^ future 
the coDscientioiis conductor will have to pay more 
attention to this heretofore rather timidly treated 
instrument and to its unapproachable master, who 
usnally combines the dignity of a monarch with the 
rudeness of a bellows-Uower; in works of the past, 
such as a Handel oratorio, thb was much less necesr- 
sary. The clarify of Bach's melody and polyphony, 
its “unfolding” as it were, also depends upon careful 
shading on the organ. Bach's great organ works — the 
Preln^, Fngoes, Toccatas, etc. — sho^d be “orches- 
Inted” like a symphony, ntiliaing all the resources of 



I the instrument; combination of colors, dtnnainics, the 
simultaneous use of different manuals and stops, and 
of the pedal. Only thus can the listener be brought 
to a full appreciation of Bach's immensely rich and 
intricate melodic language. 

Finally I should like to mention an innovation 
which dei»erves the conductor's special attention be- 
cause the German organ builders in particular are 
none too enterprising or fond of innovations. It was 
not so long ago that the organ action was constructed 
out of little pieces of wood and wire, just like in the 
middle ages, while everywhere else steam, pneumatic 
power and electricity had taken over the mechanical 

In the performance of large works for chorus, soli, 
orchestra and organ, the great distance of the organ 
console frequently makes the participation of the 
organ illusory if not impossible. At a music festival, 
how are the singer, the obbligato violin and the string 
quintet to stay in contact with an organist separated 
from them by the entire orchestra, a large chorus, 
frequently also by the audience — an organist who sits 
high up in the corner o>f a gallery and frequently 
canot even see the conductor? He relies upon his ear 
as well as he can — and his ear deceives him; for the 
great distance from the participating soloists causes 
various acoustical illusions. The composer, whom the 
audience does not “understand'*, is the victim of all 

The only remedy for this consists in movable con- 
soles, connected with the body of the organ by electric 
cables. The organist sits wherever the conductor 
deems it best — ^perhaps behind the soloists, near the 
first violins or lie conductor, or anywhere else. This 
arrangement, generally instituted and approved for 
the past ten years in France, England and America 
(in churches the organist is placed near the ofEciating 
clergyman) has recently also been introduced in Ger- 
many. Thanks to the rapidity of the electric current, 
it mokes a precise ensemble of orchestra and organ 
possible, a l^nefieial cooperation, as it were, between 
“state” and “church”. Here, at a distance from the 
organ, the organist can also judge much better the 
musical effect of his registration, the volume of sound, 
etc.; whereas, when he sits near or practically in the 
organ, he cannot see the forest because of the trees. 
This is not the place to explain in detail the treat- 
ment of the organ as an individual instrument, con- 
stituting an orchestra in itself. Our purpose is not to 
write a textbook on the performance of various instru- 
ments, but a study of their musical effect when com- 
bined in -ensemble. A knowledge of the organ, skill in 
selecting and coiid>ining the different stops constitutes 
the art of the organist, inasmuch as he is— according 
to CDStom— an extempore player. In the opposite case— 
where the organist ts simply a performer executing a 
written work — be should strictly follow the indications 
of the composer, who, therefore, must be thoroughly 
familiar with the resources of the instrument and their 
application. But these resources are so numerous and 
diverse that no composer, in our opinion, can understand 
them adequately unless he liimself is an accomplished 

if the organ is to be combined with voices and with 
other Insiniments in a particular composition, it shonld 

not be forgotten that it is tuned one tone lower than the 
present pitch of the orchestra. It must therefore be treat- 
ed as a transposing instrument in 

I This applies only to ancient organs. Modern organ 
builders tune their organs to the pitch of the orches- 
tra. But unfortunately they frequently fail to tune 
them at the correct temperature by means of a warm- 
ed-up oboe. Tuned in a cold church according to the 
Paris tuning fork, the organ is useless for ensemble 
playing with an orchestra. 

The organ of the church of St. Thomas in Leipzig, on 
the other hand, is a tone higher than the orchestra. 

\ This is no longer the case. 

The organ has soft, brilliant, but also awful sound 
effects; however, it is not within its nature to deliver 
them in rapid succession. It cannot, like the orchestra, 
pass suddenly from piano to forte, or vice versa. 

The organ can produce all effects, the softest and 
; the loudest chords, in immediate succession ; by means 
; of the crescendo pedal, it can pass from ppp to fff. 
(Here Berlioz* opinions are entirely out of date.) 
Recently devised improvements make it possible to 
produce a kind of crescendo by the gradual addition of 
stops, as well as a decrescendo by gradually withdraw- 
ing them in similar fashion. But the increasing and de- 
creasing of the tone obtained by this ingenious method 
still lacks those intermediate shadings which lend so 
much color and life to the orchestra. One cannot help 
feeling the inanimate mechanism. Only Erard’s instru- 
ment, known under the name ‘‘expressive organ**, has the 
possibility of really swelling and diminishing the tone; 
but it has not yet been adopted in churches. Serious 
people, otherwise generally intelligent, condemn its use 
as contrary to the religious character and purpose of 
the organ. 

We shall not examine here the frequently discussed 
question whether or not expression is admissable in 
sacred music — a question which could be solved in a 
moment by unprejudiced, plain commonsense. Yet we 
take the liberty of pointing out to the champions of un- 
embellished music, of plainsong, of the expressionless 
organ (as if the loud and soft stops of different timbre 
did not lend vatiety and expression to the organ) that 
they are the first to burst out in exclamations of delight 
when the performance of a choir in a sacred work en- 
chants them by the delicacy of nuance, by shadings of 
crescendo and decrescendo, by chiaroscuro, bv tones 
which swell, are sustained and fade out — ^in short, by all 
those qualities wanting in the organ, and with which 
Erard wants to enrich it by means of his invention. 
These people are obviously inconsistent, unless they 
should claim (as they are quite capable of doing) that 
nuances in expression which arc perfectly appropriate, 
religious and catholic in vocal music suddenly become 
irreligious, heretical and blasphemous on the organ. Is it 
not strange (the reader will pardon this digression) that 
these same critics who are so conservative in all matters 
of sacred music and rightly demand tliat it shonld be in- 
spired by truly religions feelings (banning, of course, 
all nuances that would express these feelings) — ^that 
these critics have never thought of prohibiting the use 
of qnidt fugues, which for ages have formed the basis 
of organ mnsic in all schools? Is it that the themes of 
fugues— some of which are quite trivial, others 
even almost grotesque — become religious and dignified 



merely by being treated in fagal style, that is, in tbe 
form permitting their most frequent repetition and con- 
tinuous display? Is it that these innumerable entries of 
different voices, these canonic imitations, these frag- 
ments of twisted and tangled phrases pursuing and flee- 
ing each other, even falling over each other, this confus- 
ion that excludes all true melody, where the chords suc- 
ceed one another so rapidly that their character can 
scarcely be discerned, this continuous commotion of the 
entire system, this appearance of disorder, these sudden 
interruptions of one voice by another, all these detest- 
able harmonic absurdities appropriate in depicting an 
orgy of savages or a dance of demons — is it that they 
are all transformed in the pipes of an organ and assume 
the solemn, grandiose, calm, devout or meditative ex- 
pression of a sacred prayer, of quiet contemplation or 
even of terror and religious awe? 

Although I share Berlios* opinion regarding organ 
I fugles, nevertheless, thb whole paragraph seems to 
; me to be inspired by his purely personal hatred of the 
; polyphonic style in general — a hatred not generally 

shared even by the admirers of Berlioz* genius. In 
this respect, the German and the Latin are antipodes. 
There may be some qneerly constituted beings who be- 
lieve all this to be true. At any rate, these critics do not 
consider quick organ fugues inappropriate even though 
they do not claim them to be imbued with religious spir- 
it. Their opinion is based on the fact that these fugues 
have been in long-established use, that they have been 
written in great number by the most accomplished mas- 
ters, following long-accepted custom. This is under- 
standable when one considers tlje fact that writers on re- 
ligious music are usually dogmatic and consider any- 
thing tending towards a change of ideas consecrated by 
time as dangerous and incompatible with faith. To re- 
turn to our subject — it is my conviction that Erard^s 
invention would be a great improvement, entirely to the 
benefit of a true religious style, even if it were applied 
to the old organ merely as one new stop, so that the 
organist would be free to employ the expressive tones 
if he chose to do so, or at least to swell and diminish 
certain tones independently of others. 


Since this instmment is adapted for numerous changes 
of key by which its pitch can be raised or lowered, It is 
Impossible to indicate its precise range without also 
naming the particular key of the bom in question. In 
fact, it Is easier to produce high tones than low ones on 
horns of a low key — ^with the exception of the horns in 
low A, B^ and C, the extreme length of whase tubes 
makes the execution of high tones difficult On the other 
hand, it is easier to produce low tones than high ones on 
horns of a higher key. Besides, some horn players who 
use a wide mouthpiece and are mainly experienced in 
playing the lower tones cannot produce the higher ones; 
others who use a narrow mouthpiece are only accustomed 
to playing the higher tones. Each key of the instrument 
has its own specific range; moreover, there is the differ- 
ence between the ranges of the players of the high 
(first) and the low (second) horn. 

The horn is written in the G and F-clcfs; but the G- 
def is to be read an octave lower than written. The ex- 
amples below will make this clear. 

All the horns except the one in high C are transposing 
instruments. Their notation does not correspond with 
the actual sound. 

Homs are capable of producing two very different 
types of tone. The open tones, alnmst all of which give 
the sound of the harmnic divisions of the tube, are pro- 
duced by the player's lips and breath alone. The eioppcd 
tones are product by more or less closing the hell (the 
lower orifice of the hom) with the hand. 

The following table gives the open tones in the differ- 
ent keys and ranges of the first and second horns. 

op«n Q# ii not so easy to prodacc as th« Q bat it bo- 
eomas ssay If prspuad by a asirbborias tone, i.e. G. F# or A. It ia 
a littls too blab. 

*]lost of Berlins* statements fai iliii chapter aie ont of date. 
See note on p.197 



kev can also be obtained by pulling out the slide of the 
horn in high C. 

The stopped tones show marked differences of char- 
acter and sonority, not only in comparison with the open 
tones, but also among themselves. These differences are 
caused by the greater or smaller opening left in the bell 
by the performer s hand. For certain notes the bell must 
be closed a quarter, a third or one-half, for others almost 
completely. The more the bell is closed, the duller and 
rougher ^comes the tone and the more difficult is its 
secure and clean production. The stopped tones are 
therefore very different from each other. We shall use 
the sign to indicate those tones for which the bell is 
only half closed, and which are therefore better in qual- 
ity. In the following example, white (whole) notes indi- 
cate the above listed open tones, black (quarter) notes 
represent stopped tones. 

In order to be able to list the complete range of the 
horn we must first mention several ad^tional open tones 
which are less well known than the others, but which 
may be used to good advantage. These are: the high 

, which is always a little too low and seems 

in tune only when used between two Fs: 

Horn in 
high Bb 

Aetwl pitch 

Horn in 

Actu: pitch 

Notrs written In the 
G-elef are not transposing. 

The family of horns is complete. There are horns in 
d!l kept, although this is not generally known. The keys 
which srem to be missing in the chromatic scale are ob- 
taint'd by means of a lengthening piece which lowers the 
instrument by a semitone. Thus, onlv the horns in low 
B*, C, D, E, F. G, high akd high C are made 
in one piece; but by adkiing the lengthening piece to the 
horns in low and low C, one obtains low A and^B. In 
the same fashion. I> is changed into I>b (or G into 
G^ (or F*5 and high C into high B (or C'^). The last 

(therefore it can never be used as F#); then the low 

, which is obtained by forcing the G and 

compressing the lips; the low F 

which, on the 

contrary, is produced with relaxed lips. These last two 
notes are of great value; the A* in particular frequently 
produces excellent effects in all keys higher than the key 
of D. However, the playing of the F is a little more 
risky; it is more difficult to sustain it safely and cleanly. 
These low tones can be produced without any prepara- 
tion if they are not preceded by very high ones; but it 
is usually best to pUce them after a G — for example: 

Passing from A^ to F is possible in moderate tempo: 

**Th3s low G b easier In the hiihcr keys, bat it b grncTally poor ud oncertain la aii the keys. 


Below these notes some horn players can produce the 


bat it sounds bad and is very hard to play. 

1 advise composers against employing it^ as well as the 
foUowing five notes beneath the low C ; they are seldom 
in tone and can be sustained only with difficulty. If used 
at all^ they should be written only for medium horns 
such as those in E and and then only in a descend- 
ing progression: 

natxirml tone n&tiuml tone 


Also the following would be very bad on a horn in low 
C or BK even though practicable on a horn in F and in 
higher keys: 

When using stopped tones^ especially in the orchestra^ 
one should try to intersperse them as much as possible 
with open ones, and not to pass from one stopped tone 
to another stopped one, particularly from one poor stop- 
ped tone to another equally poor one. 

Thus it would be senseless to write: 

By combining the range of the first horn with that of 
the second horn, and by adding to the natural open 
tones the artificial open tones and the stopped tones, we 
obtain the following immense chromatic scale, progres- 
sing upwards: 


1 stopped 1 f stopped ] { stopped I 

^ 1 SW»d 1 1 SpoA 1 . I good leusood 1 

t 11 III irr- ■ 1 h 1 r i-irr ■ -n 

mstin fTHturjl 


ston>ed i 

aood iMsood J , . ^ 

bjp. Y ^ Uk ♦ 

The lower the key, the more difficult are rapid succes- 
sions on the horn; in this ease the tube is longer and can- 
not be pot into vibration instantaneously. Low tones, 
even the natural ones, can sncceed each other in all keys 
only In moderate tempo. Ineidentaliy, this is a gexieral 
law which has to be oteerved with all instruments. Since 
the low tones result from s smaller number of vibrations, 
the sonorous body requires more tfane to produce them. 
Hence, a passage like the following woold be impracti- 
cable or of poor effect on a low born (in C or D) : 

A passage like the following, however. 

would not lack sonority and would be easy to execute 
because it contains but one poor stopped tone (the first 
A ^) ; whereas the same passage transposed to its lower 
octave or fifth would he ridicnlous as well as exceedingly 

(Bad examples) 

These three examples show that the best stopped tones 
are to be found above the medium A^ — ^with the excep- 
tion of the following four: 

Hence, the above cited example in A^, although good in 
one octave, is very had in the lower one— where it con- 
sists almost completely of the poorest stopped tones: 

Althongh it is an artificial tone, the 

initial A^ 

is very risky because it has to be 

taken quickly and without preparation. 

In general the old masters limited themselves to the 
use of open tones ; to be frank, they employed them quite 
clumsily. Even Beethoven is very reluctant to use stop- 
ped tones, except in a solo passage. His scores offer very 
few examples of them; whenever he has recourse to 
them, it is usually for some striking effect. For example, 
see the stopped tones of ^ three horns in in the 
Scherxo of the Eroica, and the low F# of the second 
horn in D in the Seherso of the A-major Symphony 
(Examples 101 and 102). 










El&r. in A. 


Shmer inB* 




Assai meno presto. 







-f f 







=»r . — 






1 ■ ^ 1 

= 1J 


l*f ■=] 

J..- ^'1 




kf'". T' 1 

:i=rzf j: 


1 1 ■ 


■ 1 w r •■m 

1 1 . . - 



y - - 

.. , 

— — j 







Trp.lft D. 


This method is doubtless better then the opposite oue, 
mdopted nowadays bj the majority of French and Itali- 
an composers. They treat the horns very much like bas- 
soons or clarinets, without taking into account the enor- 
mous difference between stopped and open tones as well 
as the differences among the stopped tones. They pay no 
attention to the difficulties encountered by the player in 
t a king a particular note after another one which does 
not natur^ly lead up to it; nor are they concerned with 
the dubious intonation, the weak tone or the rough and 
strange character of sound caused by the fact that the 
bell remains two-thirds or three-quarters closed. In 
short, they have not the slightest idea that a thorou^;^ 
knowledge of the instrument together with good taste 
and eommonsense may have something to do with the ap* 
plication of these tones, which these schobUboy-masters 
ding at random into the orchestra. Even the parsimony 
of the old composers is preferable to this ignorant and 
odious prodigality. > 

Unless stopped fames are wanted for some particular 
effect, one sho^ at least avoid those whose sound is too 
weak and too unlike the other tones of the bom. These 

are: t> and under the stave - ; the low A 

Mid the nedium A<) . They 

should never be used as mere filling notes, but only for 
the sake of an effect which corresponds with their hollow, 
rough and wild sound. I would except only the medium 
if it is indispensable for the completion of a melody, 
such as: 

instance with excellent dramatic purpose — in the scene 
in ^TreischueU’" where Kaspar conjures Samiel; but 
this tone is so closed and hence so hollow that it is 
scarcely audible unless the entire orchestra suddenly 
pauses at the moment of its uttersnee. For the ssme 
reason, the medium A^ employed by Meyerbeer in the 
scene of the nuns in "Robert Ic Diablc" (when Robert 
approaches the tomb to break the enchanted twig) is 
noticeable only because almost all the other instruments 
are silent; and yet this note is much more sonorous than 
the low B^. In scenes of secret horror these stopped 
tones, employed in several voices, may produce great 
effects. MehuU I believe, is the only composer who made 
use of them, in his opera "Phrosine et Melidore”. (Ex- 
ample 103). 




Hxwn 1 inXI. 





AUerro mocLerato 


fs^ doke 

]^fajor and minor trills are practicable on the horn, 
bat only orer a small portion of its scale. The following 
are the best: 

Homs are nsaallj written without signature — ^regard- 
less of their kej or that of the orchestra. However, when 
the melody is in the horn and the instmment is not in 
the same key as the orchestra, it is better to indicate the 
signature required by the key of the piece; bat one 
should always endeavor to use as few accidentals as pos- 
sible. Thus, the bom in F, for instance, is very suitable 

for a solo when the orchestra plays in £^: first, because 
it is one of the best keys on the instrument, and second- 
ly, because this combination requires only two fiats for 
the horn (Le. and £^}, of which one, the B&, is an 
open tone in the medium and high range of the scale and 
does not impair the sonorify of the part of the scale 
which would chiefly be used; for instance: 



to manage tills bv using horns in varions keys. The nse 
of four horns in the same key would almost inevitably 
betray a dagrant lack of skill. It is iacomparably better 
to use two horns in one key and two horns in another; 
or the first and second horns in one key, the third horn 
in another, and the fourth horn in a third key — which 
would be still more useful ; or. finally, four herns in four 
different keys — ^which would be particularly advantage- 
ous if many open tones are required. 

For f-s ample, if the orchestra plays in A^, the first 
horn may be in the second in E ''on account of its E, 
■wkieb produces or, enharmonically. A^), the third 
in F; the fourth in C. Or else, the first horn could he in 
A^', the second in the third in E, and the fourth in 
low B '.'on account of its E. producing D* or, enhar- 
monically, E*^;. The four keys can be combined in many 
different ways according to the contents of the work. It 
is the ccmposer*s task to calculate the combination most 
suitable to his harmonies, and to select his horns accord- 
ingly. In this fashion one can arrange to have only very 
few chords not containing four, three^^ or at least two 
open tones — as the following examples show; 

Horn I In A& 
Horn II In E 
Horn HI in P 
Horn IV in C 


Horn 1 in A6 
Horn II in D6 
Horn HI in E 
Horn IV in low C5 


To be sure, a horn in would have been just as suit- 
able for this passage: 

Horn in £& 

but if the melody t>hoald contain frequently the fourth 
and sixth steps of this scale :'A^* and C;, then the horn 
in F would be preferable, since its two notes E** and G 

, producing 

are much better than the 

1 "^ P "* 

corresponding notes of the liorn :n E-^ " ■ 

Orchestras formerly included only two horns ; at pres- 
ent there are always four. With two horns— even if the 
stopped tones are fully utilized — ^the use of the instru- 
ment would be greatly limited in the case of znodulatitm 
into distant keys. With four horns, however, it is casv 

If several different keys are used, it is better to as- 
sign the higher keys to the first horm and the lower keys 
to the second horns. Another precaution, frequently dis- 
regarded by many compostTs. is tlie avoidance of chang 
xng from a* very high to a very low key (or vice versa) 
daring a piece. For example, the sudden transition from 

high A to low U very difikmlt for the player. With 
four horns now avafiable in all orchestras, such awkward 
skips are easily avoidable. 

I Up to this point, Berlioz* text is obsolete and is only 
of historical value. (Sec the appendix at the end of 
this chapter.) 



The horn is a noble and melanehoiy instrument: but 
the expression and tin* character of its tone i-? sneh tlial 
the instrument is not iimlted to any particular type of 
composition. It Mendd veil vitii the general harmony. 
Even a composer of limited sklU can employ it as he 
sees &t — either prominently or in a more unobtrusive 
though uaeful role. In my opinion, no composer has n:>cd 
the horn in a more original poetic and accomplished 
faihion than Weber. In his three mastervorks. “Ober- 
on*. “Euryanthe” and “Freischuetz'*. he has endowed 
the liorn with a new and w,aaderful language — a langu- 
agr which, before him. only Mehul and Beethoven under- 
stood. and whdse purity has been preserved bv Meyer- 

beer better than by anybody else. Of all the orchestral 
instruments, the horn is the one for which Gluck wrote 
least felicitously. A simple scrutiny of one of his works 
will suffice to prove his want of skill in this respect 
However, we must cite as a stroke of genius the three 
horn tones imitating Charon’s conch in the aria “Caron 
t’appelle’* in his opera “Alceste’\ The medium C is re- 
peated three times by two horns in D in unison. The 
composer requires the bells of the two horns to be placed 
one against the other, so that they ser^'e mutually as 
“sordines’'. The tones bounding against each other sound 
as if emanating from a distant cave. This produces a 
very strange and dramatic effect: . 

Homs in D 


I believe, however, that Gluck would have obtained 
approximately the same result with the stopped medium 
of two horns in G^: 

Homs In Gb 

But it is possible that the liorh players of that period 
were not sc^ciently sure of such attacks; in that event 
the composer did well in using this strange device to 
damp the most open tone of the horn in D and to make 
it sound distant 

In the hunting scene of his “Gaillamne Tell” Rossini 
conceived the idea of having four horns in execute 
a diatonic passage In unison. This is very original. When 
four boms are thus to be comfaiiKed in a sustained melody 
or in rapid passages containing open as well as stopped 
tales, it is far better to nse bmms in four different keys 
(unless the idea is based just on the variety and uneven- 
ess of these tones). The open tones of one horn compen- 
sate for the weak stopped tones of the others, preserving 

the balance and giving evenness to the whole scale of the 
four combined horns. If the horn in C plays a stopped 
E^, the horn in an open C, the horn in F an open 
and the horn in low a stopped F, these four dif- 
ferent timbres result in a quadruple of great sonority. 
The same applies to the other tones. 

Ham in F 

Horn in C 

Horn b E6 

Horn in Bb 

A very advantageous methodr— of which, however, I 
know oxily one example — is to have four horns in differ- 
eat keys alternate in fhe exeentioa of a solo melody. 
Each of them takes the notes corresponding with its 

open tones. If the melodic fragments are skillfully 
linked together, the melody seems to be played by a 
single horn, almost all of whose tones are open and of 
the same quality. 

Horn in C 
Hornta Ab 
Hmia D 


As I Ijave said above* the horn is a noWe and rceian- 
choly instrument — notvithstandinxr the frequently quot- 
ed hunting fanfares. In fact, the gaiety of these flourish- 
es arises rather from the melodies themselves than from 
the timbre of the horn. Hunting fanfares lose much of 
their gaiety if they are not played on real hunting horns 
— instruments of little musical T3!ue,whosc strident and 
obtrusive tone differs greatly from the chaste and re- 
served voice of the French horn. However, by forcing 
the flow of air in the tube of the horn in a particular 
manner, its tone can be made to resemble that of the 
hunting horn. This is called making the tone bratstf. 
This may occasionally produce excellent effects even 

with stopped tones. When open tones are to be forced, 
composers generally require the performers to turn the 
bells upward so .as to give the sound the greatest possible 
sharpness. This position of the instrument is indicated 
by : Btll turned upvrard, A magnideent example of this 
method is found in the violent outburst at the end of the 
duet “Gardex-vous de l*i jalousie’'’ in Mehul's “Euphro- 
sine et Coradin*’. Gretry, still under the impression pro- 
duced by this terrible outcry of horns, one day answered 
SLuneone who asked him for his opinion of this crushing 
piece: “It is as if one wanted to split the roof of the 
theater with the skulls of the audienee.'* 

(Horn wilii three pisioas or cylinder vodves) 

This instrument can render all its tones open by means 
of a special mechanism which makes it possible to change 
the key of the instrument instantaneously. By using the 
different pistons one can traiinform t!»t* 3u»rn in ¥ into a 
horn in E, E^' or D, etc.; and by combining the oiHsn 
tones of one key with those of t!ic other key, the com- 
plete cliromatic scale can be played in o|>en tones. More- 
over, tile use of the three pistons adds six semitones to 
the scale of the instrument below Hs lowest natural tone. 


being the lowest natural tone of tbc horn. 

the pistons would give it the following additional tones: 



This applies to all brass Instruments which have this 
mechanism — i.e. trumpets, cornets, bugles and trom- 

The range of the horn witli three pistons in a mixed 
key sttcli as that of would therefore be as follows: 

This system offers great advantages, especially for 
the second hwrns, by filling tlie great gaps between their 

low natural toBt*«« from the lowest C 

upward. But 

the timbre of the horn with pistons differs a little from 
that of the ordinary horn; therefore. It cannot replace 


it altogether. 1 think it should be treated almost as a 
separate instrument, particularlv suitable in furnishing 
good, sonorous and energetic basses, similar to the low 
tones of the tenor trombone, although without their 
strength. It can also render melodies quite well, especial- 
It those moving mainlv in the medium range. 

The medium keys are the best on the piston horn — 
in fact, they are the only ones leaving nothing to be 
desired as to parity of intonation. The horns in E, F. 
G arid are therefore far preferable to any of the 

Since their introduction into orchestras, many compos- 
ers have shown a certain hostility toward these new 
instruments because some horn players have used them 
in cases where an ordinary horn is indicated. By means 
of the new mechanism they dnd it easier to play open 
tones instead of the stopped ones actually desired by the 
composer. This is. of Cimrse. a dangerous abuse; but it 
can easily be checked by the conductor. One must not 
forget that the piston horn, in the hands of a skilled 
player, can produce all the stopped tones of the ordinary 
horn as well as some additional ones; for it can play 
the whole scale without using a single open tone. Since 
the pistons, by changing the key of the instrument, add 
to the open tones of the principal key those of the chang- 
ed keys, it is obvious that the stopped tones of all keys 
can be combined in the same fashion. The horn in F, 

for instance, plays this open C , which sounds 

F, aa a natural tone, and by means of the pistons also 

the open D , which sounds G. By placing the 

hand into the bell and thus lowering these notes a tone, 
the first 1 

and the second becomes C 
ped F. 

, sounding the stopped 

, sounding the stop- 

Hence, to indicate those tmaes which he does not want 
executed as open tones, the composer simply has to add 
tlw word **stopped*' and tiw figures or S/g (showing 
how aBaeh of the bell should be dosed). For a scale writ- 
ten as follows: 

■ t i s s > s . . 


the perfonner takes the pistons proper for the open 
scale of C; 

By inserting the band, which closes the bell two-thirds 
during each note, this scale is transformed into one in 
B^. whose tones are the most hollow and most stopped 
obtainable on the horn. In this fashion a passage pre- 
TlDoily heard in open tones can be repented by the pis- 
ton bora in stopped tones — like a distant echo. , 

The horn with cylinder valves differs frmn the pre^ 
ceding only in the nature of its mechanism. The differ- 

ence is entirely in its favor as far as facility of tone 
production is concerned. The tones of the cylinder horn 
can scarcely be distinguished from those of the ordinary 
horn. The instrument is already in general use in Ger- 
many and will doubtless soon be adopted everywhere. 

I " Of all the instruments the horn is probably the one 
that blends best with all instrumental groups. To 
demonstrate this fact in its full measure I should 
have to insert here the entire score of “Meistersing- 
er*" : for I think 1 am not exaggerating in saying that 
this score, differing from the ensemble of Beethoven's 
C-minor Symphony only by the addition of the third 
trumpet, harp and tuba, has become so entirely dif- 
ferent, new and unheard-of principally because of the 
enormous versatility and highly developed technique 
of the valve horn. 

Mozart's two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets and 
two bassoons are certainly utilized here to the full 
virtuosic extent of their expressive potentialities ; 
they are combined by a stupendous application of all 
the secrets of their registers. The string quintet^ 
with most intricate divisions, creates ever new mir- 
acles of sound, enriched by the harp and exalted to 
an unheard-of warmth of feeling by the most wonder- 
ful polyphony. Trumpets and trombones are made to 
reveal all solemn and comic features of the work. 
But the most essential of all is the faithful horn func- 
tioning untiringly in carrying the melody or as a 
medium fllling^in voice, or as the bass. The “Meister- 
singer** score is the finest eulogy for the horn. The 
introduction and improvement of the valve horn has 
undoubtedly inaugurated the greatest advance in the 
technique of the modem orchestra since Berlioz. 

To demonstrate exhaustively the truly protean na- 
ture of this instrument I should have to go through 
the scores of the great magician bar after bar, be- 
ginning with ‘*Rheingold”. 

I Tbe horn, whether it calls ringingly Siegfried's 
exuberant vitality into the virgin forest; 
whether it fades away in Usst's ''Mazeppa” as fhe 
last, hoarse cry of the dying Cossadc prince in the 
endless steppe (Example 104) ; 
whether it seeks to conjnre the picture of the un- 
known mother to Siegfried, who is pining for her 
like a child (Example 105); 

whether it brings Isolde's shining image over the 

gentle waves to the dying Tristan; 

whether It Indicates Hans Sachs' thanks to his faith- 

fnl apprentice (Example 106) ; 

whether in Er&'s dream ('^Fliegender HdUaender", 

second act) it lets with a few hoUow accents the surf 

of the nortiiem sea hit the nocturnal shore (Example 


whether it is the symbol of Fr^a's yonth-giving 
apples (Example 108); 

whether It pokes fun at the henpedted husband 
; (''Meisteraingcr", third act) — (Examples 109 and 


I wl^irtber it thrashes Bechmesser with the jealous 
: apprentice David and actually functions as leader 
; I of the brawl (*"Meistersinger'*, second act) ; 

; whether it sings in muted sounds of the miracles of 
: the Tamhelm (Example 111) — ^it always serves its 
I task folly and entirely, it b unique in its versatility^ 
; and its c^ect is always conspictions. 



Engl^ Hrn. 

Elar. I. 
in D. 

Elar. n. 
in A. 

in C. 

Hrnr. in F. 

Trp. in D. 







CO riteauto 





mammm m 





Htteiedtor. «la Mmi ■riwimnlM 


Ob. I. 

in A. 


vioi.n. ^ 

V!o1«b« ^ 


K.S. ^ 

in A 

« M 





















Altlioagh born plajen now use almoot exclosmljr 
the boms in E, F, high A and high (incidentallj, 
it* requires practice to cha n ge the bright and sharp 
tone of the hom in into tibe soft and nelile tiihbre 
of the bom in F), it b nerertbeiesa adhrbable to retain 
Rkhard Wagner’s awthod of indicating the hey of the 
hom according to the changes of key in the mnsic. It 
b tme that hom players do not observe these different 
keys any more; but they are aeenstomed to transpose 
any key instantly into the key of the hom they are 
Qsingt 1^ they much prefer thb method to being forc- 
ed to read all the time the hom in F, for instance, with 
a great number of accidentals (sharps, dooble sharps^ 
etc.). Hence, emnposers should continue to indicate: 

bora in D, as they see fit In my ojpSxdoaf this 
has the advantage of a cleaner, appearance of the 
score. Personally I prefer to read ibe boras In the 
different keys and to transpose then (habit may have 
something to do with thb, too). The score b much 
clesrer on first sight, since the staves of the boras 
and tnanpets at onee stand out plastically in con- 
trast to the staves of tile wood*wind$ and strings 
with their transpositions and nnmeroos aeeldentab. 

Except for the above stated difference in softness 
between the horns in F and high all the other dif- 
ferences in timbre between the various valve horns 
are merely illusory. This is why muny horns in dif- 
ferent keys ire no longer used. Generally, the pliiy- 



: ers of the first and third horns use the horn in high 
; for almost all pieces in fiat keys and the horn in 
; high A for all pieces in sharp keys. The players of 
!| the second and fourth horns use horns in £ and F. 

High keys are less strenuous and permit greater 
1 1 soreness. For instance, Siegfried’s solo (Example 
I; 112) is executed with surprising ease by all horn 
players in spite of its seeming difficulty ; likewise the 
following passage (“Meistersinger”, Act III, Scene 


Horns in high F and high C are now said to be in 
the process of construction. This would be of very 
particular interest in reference to the rendition of 
Bach's first Brandenburg Concerto. 


Mafiig bcnxregt, 

Siegfriad BhBBit dac ailberae HSMion imd1>lSst daranf. ^ Dle^ gmaten aehr lang tmd bedentimgsyoU. 

SnHoniiBF ** 


^ei dan laaggahaltOMB TBhen bliekt Siegfried iauaer erwartingsToll anf deaVogeL) 



SLB.- Tidia. 




EeB.- Taba. 



* (la EbiteigriiiifieregteBslohe Fhfiter in der Gestalt eines imgdisiixeiiyeideGhseiiartigeiis 
in darHf^S'vunseiBm Lager erhohen; erbriolitdnrdi das GeBt^ind^1llldwiQst sicih 

18) hai 
ana dw Heft naoh der 

AniriShllf^i inru 

BSl . 



Its ran^e is approsimatelv the same as that of the 
French horn; it has the same natural open tones* one 
octave higher. It is written in the G-cIef. 

borne performers succeed to a degree in producing 
stopped tones on the trumpet bv introducing the hand 
into the bell, as on the horn. Bat the effect of these 
tones is so bad and their intonation Ls so uncertain that 
the great majority of composers have wisely abstained 
and are continuing to abstain from using them. The 

high F A . however, slaouid be excepted from this 

proscription and may be considered an open tone. It is 
produced by the lips only; but since it is always a little 
too high, in pitch, it can be used only as a passing note 

between G and £ 

, and one must re- 

frain from employing it as an unprepared note or from 
sustaining it. The medium ! | fe . Vst:T= , ©n the other 


hand, is always a little flat. The low C t? = should 

wor^t of all. The trumpet in has the most beautiful 
t'lne; it i> vtry brilliant and of pure intonation. But this 
instrument is hardly ever used because most composers 
do not know its existence. 

hat has been ?ia:d above of the notes at the two ex- 
treme-> of its scaler slmws that the range of the trumpet 
is not the same in all keys. Low trumpets, similarly to 
all otner instruments of this type, must avoid the lowest 
notes, and high trumpets cannot reach the highest notes. 

The ran^e ot the trumpet in the different kevs is as 

I verr poar t aeSnrar | 

fj. goand JUiUckSt 

Trumpet in low Afe^ 


— i 

Afitcc! Hfc— 




be avoided on trumpets in keys lower than F. It sounds 
weak and rough and is not suitable for characteristic 
effects. It can be easily replaced by a horn tone^ which 
is better in every respect. 

The three highest notes ^r =li= , very hazard- 

ous on the trumpets in low A, and C, are impracti- 
cable in higher keys. However, the high C can be pro- 
duced with some ejffort even on trumpets in £^ if it is 
introduced similarly to the following example: 

Such a passage^ which most German and English 
players would attack without hesitation, would be con- 
sidered very risky in France* where one generally has 
to overcome great difficulties in employing the brass* 
There are trumpets (made in one piece) in C* D* 
E, F, G and^ery rarely — ^in high A^. By means 
of the lengthening piece previously mentioned in connec- 
tion with the horn, which lowers the pitch of the instru- 
ment by a semitone, one obtains trumpets in A, D& 
(or C^) and (or F^). By using a double lengl^n- 
ing piece, which lowers the pitch a whole tone, even a 
trumpet iis low can be pn^uced; but this key sounds 

Trumpet In B 
Aetaai pitch 


Tiilge i dt I 



Trampet Jn Db 

Astss: piici 

Tmmpet in D 


Trumpet in £6 
Actual pitch 

Trumpet in £ 
Actual pitch 

Tnunpet In F 
Actual pitch 

Trumpet in Gb 
Actual pitch 

T2ie low C (marked *)• which is written in the F-clef, 
is of excellent sonority in the three high keys (F, G**, G). 
It can be used very effectively on many occasions. 

Trumpets in high are found only in some military 
bands. Their tone is very brilliant, but their range is still 
smaller than that of the trumpet in G, since they can- 
not go above the fourth C. 

Adolphe Sax now makes small octave and tenth trum- 
pets (in high C and high E^) of excellent tone. They 
should be employed in all orchestras and military bands. 

Trills are generally impracticable on the trumpet; in 
my opinion, they should not be used in the orchestra. 
The following three trills, however, sound quite well; 

All that has been said above concerning the different 
keys of the horns and about the method of taking ad- 
vantage of them in combination applies equally to the 
trumpets. It should be added, however, ^at there is 
rarely an opportunity for using them in different keys. 
Most of our orchestras provide the composer with o^y 
two trumpets and two comets, instead of four trumpets. 
It is therefore better to have two trumpets in the same 
key since the cornets can complete the harmony; the 
latter can play all intervals, and their timbre is not so 
dissimilar from that of the trumpets that they could not 
blend with them sufficiently in the ensemble. 

( This chapter is now also obsolete. All the com- 
poser needs is orchestral technique and tonal imagi- 
nation; the key in which he writes the trumpet is 
unimportant. It is beat to apply here, too, Wagner’s 
method of writing in all keys so as to leave the trum- 
pet part in C major as much as possible. One can 
then leave the choice of the most suitable key to the 
individual trumpet player. 

To the best of my knowledge, trumpet players now 
prefer the following keys: first trumpets — ^high A, Bb 
C; second trumpets — ^F, D, E^. 

Only in minor keys is it necessary to use trumpets in 
two different keys, if there are passages nnnfa>ftiing » the 
third and fifth steps of the scale. In G# minor, for 
I n st a nc e, if one trumpet is to play G# and B while the 
other one plays B and D# a third hi^er (or a sixth 
lower), it is necessary to employ one trumpet in B 
(whose E and G produce and B) and another one 
B (whose C and E produce B and D^). This is what 
Meyerbeer did in the great scene of the fourth act of 
*'Lcs Huguenots”: 



rruimwt E 

Contrary to triditional •jsacrt, the piano tone of the 
trumpets can he employed ■vrith charming eifeet. Gluck 
wa.s one of the drst tc give a convincing example of t3ji> 
in the long sustained CMtc of the twr trumpets, united 
pianissimo on the domiaant. in the Andante of t3:e intro- 

duction to “Iphigenie er. Tauride/" Beerhcven particu- 
larly in the Andante of his A-major Symphony ; and 
Weber both used the piano p.^ssibilities of the trumpets 
very felicitously. Examples 113 and 114). 





FL ■ 




lU rao^ i» approximatelr the same as that of the 
French horn; it iias the same natural open tones, one 
octave higher. It is written in the G-clef. 

cstr (3 
Uah keri t 

B ■ * ■ 

9 » 

Some performers succeed to a degree in producing 
stopped tones on the trumpet hr introducing the h^nii 
into the bell, as on the horn. But the e^ect of these 
tones is so bad and their intonation is so uncertain that 
the great majority of composers hare wisely abstained 
and are continuing to abstain from using them. The 

high F . however, should be excepted from this 

proscription and may be considered an open tnne. It is 
produced by the lips only; but since it is always a little 
too high in pitch, it can be used only as a passing note 

between G and £ ^ ^ I ' .1 , and one must re- 

frain from employing it as an unprepared note or from 

sustaining it. The medium Bh 

on the other 

hand, is always a little flat. The low C 


be avoided on trumpets in keys losrer than F. It sounds 
weak and rough and is not suitable for characteristic 
effects. It can be easily replaced by a horn tone, which 
is better in every resp^ ^ 

The three highest notes T ^ , very haxard- 

ous on the trumpets in low A. B^ and C. are impracti- 
cable in higher iwys. However, the high C can be pro- 
duced with some effort even on trumpets in £h if it is 
introduced similarly to tbe following example: 

Such a passage, which most Gemm and English 
players would atta^ without hesitation, would be con- 
sidered very risky in France, where one generally has 
to emceine great £ffiealties in employing the brass. 

There are trumpets (made in one ptece) in Bh, C, D. 
E^, E. F. G nnd^ery rarely — ^in blf^ AK By means 
of the lengthening piece previously aaentioned in eonwo- 
tion with the ham. whieh lowers the pitch of the instru- 
ment by a semitone, one obtains tmmpeto in A, B, Dh 
(or C*) and G^' (or F*^). By using a doable lengthen- 
ing pien, whieh lowers tbe pitch a whole tone, even a 
trumpet to low Ah can be {w^ueed; hat this key sounds 

workt of all. The trumpet in has the most beautifnl 
t^ne; it i-. vtry brilliant and of pan- intonation. But this 
instrument is hardly ever used because most composers 
do not know -if its existence. 

What has been said above of the notes at the two ex- 
tremes of its scale shows that the range of the trumpet 
is not the same in all keys. Low trumpets, similarly to 
all other instruments of this type, must avoid the lowest 
notes, and high trumpets cannot reach the highest notes. 

The range of the trumpet in the different keys is as 

Xruinpet talaw Ab 
Aetaal pitch 

Ihunpet in A 

Aetssl pitch 

Tnmipet in Bt 

Aetnal pitch 

IVompel; in B 

rdilwH 1 




Trumpet In C 

tarn tMAipotiBt) ' 

y., ^ to ■" 1 



' ^ 



The trumpet can be employed even in pieces of gay 
character* provided that thi!» mood is characterized in a 
spirited or brilMant manner. 

In spite of its proud and distinguished timbre, the 
trumjH't lias been degraded as few other instruments. Up 
to the time of Beethoven and Weber, all composers — 
not even excepting Mozart — limited its use to the low 
sphere of mere lilling-in voices or to a few commonplace 
rhythmic formulas, as vapid as they are ridiculous, and 
usually contrary to the character of the piece in which 
they occur. This trivial practice has at last been aban- 
doned. A3! composers possessing style strive to give to 
their melodic passages, accompaniments and figurations 
all the latitude, variety and independence which nature 
has accorded to the trumpet. It took almost a century to 
attain this! 

I Verdi used the trumpet ^as well as the trombone) 
in his iater works ^“Falstaff*’. “Otello'*) very indi- 
vidually, but without real feeling for its soul and 
true character. This application of the heavy brass, 
resulting from the use of the key trombones with 
their vulgar tone, is not to be recommended, although 
it belongs to the peculiarities of the old master. 

In view of the incisive effecft which the trumpet 
always has it is not necessary to quote the innumer- 
able examples from Richard Wagner's works: Sxeg- 
mund's sword motif, Bruennhilde's fighting call at 
the beginning of the second act of ^‘Walkuere*’, the 
trumpet octaves, as painful as sword thrusts, at the 
end of the second act of ‘‘Tristan” — all these are 
unforgettable to anyone who has ever heard them. 

The valve trumpet t (with pistons or cylinders) have 
the advantage of being able to produce all the intervals 
of the chromatic scale, similarly to the valve horns. 
They have lost nothing of the peculiar timbre of the 
ordinary trumpet through the addition of this mech- 
anism; and their intonation is satisfactory. Trumpets 
with cylinders are best of all; they will soon come into 
general use. 

Kep irumpeit (still in use in some Italian orchestras) 
cannot match them in this respect. 

The general range of the valve trumpet (with pistons 
or cylinders) is as follows: 

The high cylinder trumpets, such as those in F and G, 

can descend chromatically as far as F^ 

; but 

these extremely low notes are of rather poor quality. 
Major and minor trills practicable oii the cylinder 
trumpet are the same as those on the cornet with three 
pistons. (See the table of trills on this instrument, 

Slide trumpets (so called on account of the attached 
slide, which is moved by the right hand, similarly to 
that of the trombone) produce the purest intervals be- 
cause of this mechanism. Their tone is exactly the same 
as that of the ordinary trumpets; their range is as fol- 

Impracticable in 
the keara of C, B 
and lower 

Inpraecieable in 

the keys of C, B 
and lower 

Muted trumpets frequently produce enchanting 
effects. In forte they are suitable for caricature and 
for the presentation of fantastic apparitions. The 
piano of muted trumpets has a magical, silvery sound 
(Example llfi). 

The muted trumpet is much easier to play than the 
muted horn. The latter still offers difficulties in re- 
gard to purity of intonation, which can be overcome 
only by diligent practice. 









(Comet wifli three lesions or with cylinders) 

Its range is approximately two octaves and two or three 
tones. The valve mechanism with which it is furnished 
enables it to play all chromatic steps down to the low 

F= fe- ; however, this tone and the two or three 

preceding ones (A, and G) are practicable only on 
high comets. On these high cornets it is even possible 

to produce the low C 

the first natural tone 

of the cornet (as will be presmtly seen) ; but its pro- 
duction is very risky ; moreover^ its sound is poor and of 
very questionable usefulness. 

There are cornets in C, B^, A, A^, G, F, E, and D. 
By means of the lengthening pieces mentioned above in 
the chapters on the horn and the trumpet, the pitch of 
the instrument is lowered a semitone, and the keys of B, 

and even can thus be obtained. But the facility 
of modulating as a result of the valves makes these 
changes of key almost useless. Besides, the low keys — 
such as G, F, E and D — ^are generally of poor tone 
quality and lack purity of intonation. The cornets in A^, 
A and B^ are the best; I think they should be used al- 
most exclusively. The highest cornet — ^the one in C — 
is rather difficult to play. 

The following table shows the range which may be 
assigned to the various cornets. Some performers can 
produce a few additional tones above and below this 
range; but these are very risky, and we are disregarding 
them. The cornet is written in the G-clef. The following 
are the natural tones of its tube, which is shorter than 
that of the trumpet: 

Range of Rie Comet in different keys: 

Comet is C bad .luUtyl 

Actual pitch 

Comet in Bd 
Actual pitch 

Comet in A 
Actual pitch 

Comet in A6 
Actual pitdi 

laeL the ehro- | Aitr f 

atmtfc intervals r 

lael. the chn>- n®n 
atm worse * asatic ll|a ^ 


lael. the ehxoas. intervals I diff. i 

Comet in G 
Actual pitch 

Comet in F 
Actual pitch 

Comet in E 
Actual pitch 

Comet in Eh 
Actual pitch 

Comet In D 
Actual pitch 

Inel. the chrom. intervals 

End. the ehzom. intervals 



The highest notes of these examples, all of wh:ch 
sound the same G = , are less riskv and of better 
quality in the higher keys. Thus, the high of the cor- 
net in A ' y' - ' - " — , the high A of the cornet in : 
and the high G of the cornet in C 

are incom- 

parably better and easier than the high F of the cornet 

*4th oet. pxaet3eu»!c 
oalr ia th« 2ow«r kejc 

One sees — and it is important to remember this — that 
the part of the range of a brass instrument on which 
only the following three natural tones can be produced 
; without Talves) 

in D 

or the high £ of the comet in £^ 

All these notes sound the same G 

. Moreover, 

this observation applies to all brass instruments. 

Most major and minor trills are practicable and of 
good effect on high comets — for instance those in A, 
and D — but only on the following part of the scale: 

I doabtfal! ! doabtfal I 1 deabtfali 

is always its second ociave, Le. proceeding from low to 

The cornets have their best tones mainly in the second 
octave. Considering the comets in A, B^ and C as high 
trumpets (an octave higher than the trumpets in A, Bh 
and C). one could have written them accordingly. This 
has been purposely avoided, and cornets are written ac- 
cording to their place on the general musical scale, their 
lowest tone an octave above that of the trumpet. The best 
tones of the cornets arc in or near their second octave: 

The following list shows the relation between the 
horns, trumpets and cornets in their various keys. The 
first low tone of the comet in C is, as stated above, the 
higher octave of that of the trumpet in C; just as the 
first low tone of the trumpet in C is in turn the higher 
octave of that of the hom in C. The natural tones of 
the horns (those which result from the resonance of the 
tube) are thus reproduced by the trumpet in the same 
order, but in the higher octave. Tho^e of the trumpet 
would be reproduced in the same fashion by the comet 
if the lips of the player were strong enough to produce 
the highest tones, which, however, is not the case. 

If the cornets were written like the trumpets, these notes 
would always be below the stave and would necessitate 
the constant use of ledger lines: 

Cornet in C 
written like m, 
tnsmpet ia kish C 

ISest tone 

% Istoet. 


This inconvenient method of notation has neverthe- 
less been preserved in Prussian military music; one 
should be aware of this. 

In the following table the key of C has been taken as 
the point of departure for the various kinds of boms, 
trumpets and comets. As for the comets, the lower their 
key, the longer becomes their scale; this is why the list- 
ing of cornets starts with the highest keys. On the other 
hand, the scale of trumpets and boms becomes shorter 
as they rise in key (with the exception of the three keys 
below C — ^low B, B* and A). 

*TtiSs tone exists; It is really the first low tone on the hen; omitted it from Omb sesle of the kom in low C and B6. 
but its somid is so poor and indfstkict in low keys that I have 


in the keys 

ODMPABISON of the differed sets 



easily than the cornets tb» same A 

of D and F: 

l.C UrpSMii«y) 

2. B 

3. B& 

5. A» 

6. G 


7. G& i 

8. F I 

9. B 

10, E6 ; 

11,0 + 


Jib ^rare^ 






|ii J3h 

C (typical key* 




A (very rare) t 

high B6 
high A 

i D6 

C (typieaSkey) 



Trumpet in D 

. Trumpet in F 

Some players with a particularly strong embouchure 
can even produce the E on the trumpet in 

whose sound is B 

; and the G 

on the 

trumpet in F. whose sound is C 

; but only in 

passings and only if they are skillfully prepared. In any 
ease, performers capable of reaching these extreme notes 
are rare; in composing it is better not to write them. 

Trumpets^ having a narrow tube^ a small mouthpiece 
and a not very wide bell, play high tones with greater 
facility. The cornets^ on the contrary, have a rather wide 
and almost conical tube, their bell and mouthpiece are 
somewhat larger., which makes their low notes easier 
than the high ones and gives their tone the peculiar 
quality distinguishing it from that of the trumpets. 

Before proceeding to examine the timbre of the cor- 
net, it may be useful to repeat here what has been said in 
connection with the valve horn about the function of the 
three cylinder or piston valves attached to brass instru- 
ments in general. 

These three valves give to these instruments the chro- 
maticr scale (from the second octave upward), filling al 
the gaps between their natural tones; furthermore, they 
add six chromatic notes below the two lowest sounds : 

A (▼«ry *m) 

This will clarify the relations between horns, trump- 
ets and cornets and their respective positions in the scale 
of tones, 

I should like to add that the best tones of the valve 
trumpets (with pistons or cylinders) are near their third 
octave* vhich is identical tciih the second octave of the 
tometSu Therefore, passages for the cornets in A, B and 
C, written within the following range: 

can also be executed on trumpets in A, B and C, without 
any change. This makes it possible to replace them with 
trumpets without any disadvantage — in orch&tras lack- 
ing cornets (as the German ones). 

The comets in A, and C have a smaller range than 
the trumpets in A, B^ and C ; they can scarcely go above 

the sotmding A 

: Cornet in A 

Comet in 

Comet in C 

On the other hand, the tnunpets not only have several 
additional tones at the low end of their ran g e- ■ e ven 
though they may be poor — but they also produce more 

2nd low tone 

1st low tone 

2nd low tone 

l$t low tone 

But this first low C is already so indistinct and so 
difficult to sustain that the lower notes added by the 
valves become, as may be imagined, completely impracti- 
cable, The situation is similar with the horns. 

Although the comet can execute all steps of the chro- 
matic scale, the choice of key is not unimportant. It is 
always better to select that key which permits the use of 
the greatest number of natural tones (it is hardly neces- 
sary to repeat that 'natural tones are those produced 
without valves by the resonance of the tube alone), such 

(according to French notation) 


— .'ind which requires but few flats cr sharps in the sig- 
nature. For instance, if the orchestra piajs in E. the cor- 
net in A should be used, which would then play in G 
(the cornet in E being one of the least satisfactory 
ones} : 

With an orchestra playing in D, it would also be bn- 
ter to use the same cornet, thin time playing in F : 

If the orchestra plays in the cornet in is used 

which plays in F — with ant flat in Its signature: and 
similzrZy in other ca<e-'. 

!; I refer the reader again to the esplanation^ re- 
; girding the various key« of horns and trumpets. The 
! immense proure^s in ^rchestril technique -though 
I unforiunitely not in the art of phrasing * since Btr- 
[ licz' time sh“>u:d always be kept in mind. 

In France the cornet is very much in fashion at 
present, especially in certain musical circles where 
elevation and purity of style are not considered essen- 
tial qualities. It has become the indispensable solo in- 
strument in quadrilles, galops, variations and other sec- 
end-rate compositions. The prevailing custom in dance 
orchestras of assigning melodies more or less devoid of 
originality ar.d distinction to the comet, as well as the 
essential character of its tone — which has neither the 
nobility of the horn nor the dignity of the trumpet — 
make the introduction of the cornet into the higher melo- 
dic style very difficult. Nevertheless, it might be used 
here with advantage: but only in rare instances, and pro- 
vided that it is given only slow and dignified passages. 
Thus, the cornet is very suitable for the ritornelle of 
the trio in “Robert le DiaWe” — “O mon fils“ (Example 

117. ROBERT 1£ DlABLEr ACT V A. 

KnLia tief H. 
Hon In B* 

Hbra in C. 


ia A. 



ns.SB B*H. 




Klar* in A. 

2 must admit that I have a violent aversion against 
the manner of using the trumpet as melody-carnring 
instTument (that is^ the trumpet alone with just a 
simple accompaniment). The kind of polyphonic 
style which Bach developed to its highest point and 
wUch was to find a wonderftil rebirth in Beethoven's 
last quartets and later in ‘Tristan" and “Meister- 

singer" — this style was completely alien to Berli* 
Hence, the finer combinations of the trumpet tc 
with wood-winds and horns were really created oi 
by Richard Wagner’s tonal imagination. 

Example 118 (“Walkuere", first act) gives a w( 
derful illustration of this kind of tone combination. 




m «Wf« played oa this instroaieiit will always cover and ennoble that of the cornet. Employed in har- 

ran the risk of W «" g some of their nobility, if they monies, the cornet blends very well with the mass of 

ptnuinis any. If they lac^ it, their triviality is greatly brass instrnments. It serves to complete the chords of 

increased. A commonplace phrase which m^ht appear the trumpets, and it can contribote to the orchestra those 

tolerable when played by the violins or wood-winds diatonic or chromatic groups of notes which, becanse of 

would become trite and vdgar if tendered by the blar- their rapidity, suit neither the trombone nor the horns, 

ing, obtrusive and eoaiae tone of the comet. This danger Comets are generally written in two voices, and fre- 

b obviated if the passage is played by one or several qaentiy in different keys, 

trombones nt the same time; their powerful voice would 




There are four kinds of trombones, each of which 
bears the name of the human voice which it resembles 
most in character and range. The soprano trombone, the 
smallest and liighest of them, exists in Germany; it is 
unknown in France. It has hardly ever been used in the 
works of the great masters. This is no reason why it 
should not be employed sooner or later, especially since 
it is by no means certain as yet whether it can be success- 
fnlly replaced by the valve trumpets— even by those 
highest in range. Only Gluck has used the soprano trom- 
bone under the name of cometto in the Italian score of 
“Orfeo**. Here if serves to double the soprano voices of 
the chorus, while the other three trombones (alto, tenor 
and bass) double the other voices. 

These three last-named trombones are the only ones 
in general nse. It must be mentioned, however, tl^t the 

alto trombone is not found in all French orchestras and 
that the bass trombone is almost unknown there. The 
latter is almost always confused with the third tenor 
trombone, which executes the lowest voice and is there- 
fore quite incorrectly called the bass trombone, although 
differing from it essentialy. 

Trombones are instruments with slides; their double 
tube can be lengthened or shortened instantly by a 
simple movement of the player's arm. It is obvious that 
these changes in the length of the tube must completely 
change the key of the instrument. Thus the trombones, 
possessing all the notes which result from the natural 
resonance of the tube in all positions, like the other brass 
instruments, attain a complete chromatic scale with just 
one gap at the bottom of the scale, as we shall presently 


It has a range of more than two and a half octaves. It 
is written in t^ C-def on the third line (alto-clef) : 

Its timbre is somewhat shrill in comparison with that 
of the lower trombones, and its low tones are rather 
poor. It is generally advisable not to use them, particu- 
larly since their quality is excellent on the tenor trom- 
bone; the latter is almost always to be found in orches- 
tras together with the alto trombone. However, the high 
tones such as B, C, D, £, F may be very useful. For 
their sake it is regrettable that the alto trombone is at 
present banished from almost all French orchestras. 

When its slide is closed, the lips alone produce the fol- 
lowing tones, in the same order as the natural tones of 
the horns, trumpets, comets and all other brass instru- 
ments in £^: 


Hence the name Small Trombone or Alto Trombone in 
given to it by players. The latter name would be 
useless in scores, since the instrument emits the tones 
as they are written and does, therefore, not belong to 
the transposing instruments. As we have explained 
above, only transposing instruments require such indica- 
tions of key. 


This is undoubtedly the best of all the trombones. Its 
strong and full tone remains of good quality over the 
whole extent of its scale. It can execute passages of a 
rapidity unobtainable on the bass trombone. It is usual- 
ly written in the tenor-clef (the C-clef on the fonrth 
line). But since in many orclmtras the three trombone 
parts, althongh differently named, are played on three 
tenor trombones, it follows that the first tenor trombone 
is written in the alto-clef, the second in the tenor-clef, 
and the third in the F-clef. With its slide closed, it pro- 
daces the following tones, which are the natural tones 
of all brass tubes in B^, i.e. of those tubes which produce 
Bfi as tiieir first low tone, if the entire mass of air in 
them is put Into vibration. 

For thb reason it has been called trombone in Bh. It is a 

fourth below the alto trombone and has the following 

InelodlBsall eRroastte faterrab 

One perceives that the low is miaalwg on 

the tenor trombone. This causes innumerable errors even 
in the most learned scores. Thus, one of our contempor- 
ary composers, whose skill in the art of instrumentation 
is outsbusding and uncontested, starts one of his operas 
with several low JSfis of the third tenor trombone. Actu- 
ally the ophicleide plays them, while the trombone only 
doubles them in the higher octave. The composer has 
perhaps never noticed that the low is not played by 
the instminent for which it was written. 



The only cause of its infrequent use is tliL ^reat fit:- 
gut* experienced even by tile most robust pHyers. It is 
the largf^it and eoniiequently the lowest of ill trombont 
When it is employed, there should be adequite pluses to 
give the pbu’ers sulficien: rest. Alto^jt-rher sparing: and 
well-founded use should be made of this instrument. 
With its Niide closed, it -ounds tlie f tlluwing tenes: 

whence it is also called the Large Trombone or Bass 
Trombone in £'•. It is in octive lower than the alto 
trombone and a fifth lower than the ten.-^r trombone. It is 
written in the F-cIef; its range is as follows: 

IcelndiBX all ehrematw 

The tone of the bass trombone is majestic, awe-inspir- 
ing and formidable. The bass trombone deservedly takes 
the lowest voice in the brass family. Unfortunately, it 
is entirely lacking in Paris ; it is not taught at the Con- 
servatoire, and thus far no trombone player has been 
willing to study it. Consequently, most of the modern 
German works and even the old French and Italian 
works scored for orchestra.s with bass trombones are 
more or less distorted when performed in Paris. For 

instance., in Weber’s ‘'Freischueta'’ the low D 
occurs several times in the accompaniment of the hunt- 
ers' chorus, and the low £’• is found when the 


hermit enters. These notes have to bt* transposed an 
octave higher, because the three trombone players of 
the Opera orchestra use tenor trombones exclusively, on 
which these low tones cannot be played. The situation is 

the same with the sustained low C 

in the chorus 

in Gluck's “Alccste” — 'Tleure, o pa trie”. Here the 
effect of the low C is extremely important and its trans- 
position is, therefore, all the more deplorable. The bass 
trombone is not so well suited to rapid movements as 
tlie other instruments of this family. Because of the 
length and width of its tube, it needs more time for 
vibrating; besides, the slide of this trombone is operated 
by means of a special handle (because the length of the 
arm is not snfficient for certain positions). Thus it is 
easily understandable why the bass trombone does not 
possess greater agility. It is. therefore, simply impos- 
sible for the German performers using the bass troml^ne 
to execute many passages in modem French scores, 
which French players can execute on the tenor trombone 
after a fashion. The imperfection in the performance of 
these passages — in spite of tlie talent of some of our 
artists-— proves moreover tliat they are too fast even for 
the tenor trombone, and that trombones are altogether 
nnsuited for passages of this kind. At any rate, this 
shows that the performers — as long as the composers 
do not impose t^ great difficulties upon them— should 
always use the instruments indicated by them, and no 
othern. Unfortunately, many composers obstinately io- 

on indicating in thvir alto troii:boniS, tenor 

trrabone- aai trembones insttad of tenor tr^’sm- 
Ircrit:'i I. 11. nr, alth-.'iugh they know quite well that most 
of OUT orche-^tras have only tenor tromkine?*. Cunse- 
qucntly. in order to perform tljese works elsewhere ex- 
actly 'lb in Pariw, it would be necessary to disregard the 
compuser’a indic^itinns und to use the same instruments 
as in Paris. But can such interpretation of the C'impos- 
€r\ intentions be permitted at ail? Would this not open 
the door to all sorts of distortion and abuse: Is it not 
more just to let those composers who are &© negligent in 
marking their works suffer a little, rather than let others 
who write tlieir* carefully and with an exact knowledge 
of instrumental resources ran the risk of seeing their 
scores disfigured? 

.\11 trombones have the >ame range, starting from 
their different lowest tones. This range, as we have seen, 
is two octaves and a sixth. But that is not all. Besides 
this extensive scale they posse^^s at tlae extreme low end 
and starting from the first natural tone downward four 
additional tones, tremendous and magnificent on the ten- 
or tromb‘.3ne. indifferent on the alto trombone, and ter- 
rible on the bass trombone — if they can be produced at 
all. They are called pedal tf>nes„ doubtless because of 
the similarity of their sound with the lowest tones of 
the organ, which have the same name. It is rather diffi- 
cult to use them well and they are even unknown tn 
many trombone players. These tones are: 

on the alto trombone 
on the tenor trombone 

and on the bass trombones they would he 

a,gv IP,, , ,■ , . . 

if all players had the power to produce them. Even if 
the bass trombone had only the first of these pedal 
tones, E^, this one tone could be of great value for cer- 
tain effects which are unattainable without it. since no 
other instrument of the orchestra, with the exception of 
the tuba and tiie double-bassoon, reaches this extraordi- 
nary depth. These tones are separated from the others 
on all trombones by a gap of an augmented fourth be- 
tween the first natural note and the lowest note pro-" 
duced by means of the slide; e.g. on the trombone in Bh: 

On account of this gap it is sometimes indis{>ensable 
to designate the keys of tlie trombones to be employed. 
For this gap changes its place on the scale according to 
the length of tlie tube and the key of the instrument, so 
that one or more or even all pedal tones available on a 
trombone in one key may be wanting on one in another 
key. For instance, if a composer fails to indicate that he 
requires a trombone in ' when writing these pedal 

tones » the orchestra which is to plaT 

bis work may have a real bass trombone in which 
lacks the low and G; or a bass trombone in F, which 
lacks the four notes A, G (these two trombonea 
are very popular in Germany) ; or, finally, a bass trom- 
bone in G (frequently foondi in Engluid), wbich also 
lacks Bb, A, A^. This will become clearer by tbe follow- 
ing list: 


Pedal tones of tlie tenor 
troDiboae In B6: 

Pedal tones of the bass 
trombone in F 

(it has none of those of the trom- 
bone in B6) s 

Pedal tones of the bass 
trombone in G 

(only one of these exists on the 
trombone bi Bb) s 

Pedal tones of the bass 
trombone in £6 
(it lacks the Ab and G of the 
trombone in Bb): 

Gmwcd range ^ Sie Uiree trombones 

Alto trombone 

^ of poor coiud of XHMrMnnal i Tt 

I Pedal tones | *- 

If the pedal tones of the alto trombone were not of 
such poor quality, they might be used in the orchestras 
that have no bass trombone to fill the gap between the £ 

of the tenor trombone and its first pedal tone, 

B^ Unfortunately, they are so thin and dull 


that they can by no means replace the beautiful low 
tones of the tenor trombone. &aly the bass tromhbne 
with the powerful tones of the extreme low range of its 

«»le can supply this need. 

The ingenious manufacturer Sax, of Paris, has for- 
tunately surmounted thu difficulty by means of a single 
Talre attached to the body of the tenor trombone. This 
ralve is controlled by the player*s left-hand thumb while 
his right hand remains completely free to move the slide. 
By filling the gap, the valve gives the tenor trombone 
in B^ the following tremendous range: 

whh ihm teaytl 

{ (It is now generally used by the third trombone.) 

All orchestras should have at least one of these fine 

The vibrations of the pedal tones are slow and dmnand 
much breath To make them come out well, one mnst 
give them sufficiently long duration. They should follow 

one another slowly and be interspersed with rests to 
give the player thne for breathing. Care should also be 
taken to keep the part in which they occur generally 
rather low so as to allow the lips of the trombone play- 
er to become gradually accustomed to the production of 
these very low tones. The best xnanner of writing pedal 
tones for the tenor trombone, for instance, is to ap- 

proach the first pedal tone by a downward 

leap of a fifth or octave from the F or above and, 
after a rest for breathing, to proceed chromatically 
downward to A and G# (the G is more difficult, very 
rough and rather risky). The composer of a Requiem 
(berlzoz) has recently introduced these three tones in 
^is fashion. Although at the first rehearsal of this work 
five or six of the eight trombone players exclaimed with 
indignation that this was impossible, nevertheless the 
eight B^s, the eight As and the eight G#s came out 
quite full and pore — splayed by artists who did not be- 
lieve in the existence of these tones because they had 
never tried to produce them. The sound of the three pedal 
tones appeared even more beantifnl than that of the 

higher and more frequently used tones F# and 

This effect is used in the work just mentioned below 
a three-part harmony of fiutes, without any voices or 
other instruments. The sound of the flutes, separated 
from that of the trombones by an immense interval, 
seems to be the realization of the extre m ely high reso- 
nance of the pedal tones, whose slow movement and 
profound voice enhance the solemn impression of the 
Hostias daring the rests intermpting the choir. (Ex- 
ample 119.) 


119. requiem: hostias 


1 have used the pedal toaes of the tenor trombone in 
yet another place, but for an entirely different purpose. 
The intention vas to produce low harmonies of extreme 
roughness and of unusual timbre. 1 believe I have at- 
tained this by means of the dfth on two tenor trombones 

and furthermore through a diminished sev- 

enth between the of an ophicleide and the pedal-A of 
a tenor trombone; 

A special dif&culty, sometimes even impossibility, un- 
known to most composers despite its importance, exists 
for the trombones if they are to play the following 
tones in rapid succession; 

Alto trombone 

Tenor trombone 

Bass trombone 

The transition from one ot these notes to the other 
requires an enormous change in the position of the trom- 
bone slide and consequently a considerable stretch of 
the performer’s arm ; this is why it can be executed only 
in very moderate tempo. A famous master wrote the 
rapid succession of B, A#, B. several times repeated. The 
trombone players of the Theatre Italien carried this out 
like the players of the Russian horns — each playing a 
single note: one took the B. the other one A^, to the 
great amusement of their colleagues; they laughed par- 
ticularly at the efforts of the second trombone player 
to edge in his on the weak beat For the same reason 
it is also rather difficult to play tlie following passage 

rapidly on the tenor trombone; I ^ 4 

It is better to write this reversed, because the figure 
requires no change in the position of the 


The trill is practicable on the trombone — but only on 

the tones of its highest octave. I believe that one should 
not write it for the bass trombone, where it is too diffi- 
cult. In the hands of skilled players the tenor and alto 
trombones can execute the following trills: 

Alto trombone 

Inelnding the chromatic interrals 

Tenor trombone 

Inolsdingthe ehzomatic intervals 

One sees that all these are major trills; minor trills 
are impossible. 

In my opinion the trombone is the true head of that 
family of wind instruments which 1 have named the epic 
one. It possesses nobility and grandeur to the highest 
degree; it has all the serious and powerful tones of sub- 
lime musical poetry, from religious, calm and imposing 
accents to savage, orgiastic outbursts. Directed by the 
will of a master, the trombones can chant like a choir of 
priests, threaten^ utter gloomy sighs, a mournful lament 
or a bright hymn of glory, they can break forth into 
awe-inspiring cries and awaken the dead or doom the 
living with their fearful voices. 

Nevertheless, ways were found some thirty years ago 
to degrade this instrument by limiting its use to the 
worthless and ridiculous doubling of the double-bass 
part. Fortunately, this method has now been almost 
completely abandoned; but in many otherwise beautiful 
scores one can still find the basses almost continuously 
doubled in unison by a single trombone. I know nothing 
less harmonious or more vulgar than this manner of 
instrumentation. The tone of the trombone is so cliarac- 
teristic that it should never be used except for special 
effects. It cannot be its function merely to reinforce 
the double-basses, with whose timbre, moreover, it has no 
sympathy whatever — 

— ^whereas the softer bass tuba or, still better, the 
1 ; low horns are excellently suited to support the basso 
1 1 cantante. 

Besides, it must be admitted that one single trombone 
always seems more or less out of place in the orchestra. 
This instrument needs harmony or at least unison with 
other members of its family to display its true qualities. 

I Some very interesting examples wliich contradict 
this statement are to be found in the third act of Wag- 
ner’s “Meistersinger”, where the two first trombones 
tf^ther and the third trombone alone play two 
themes with sharply contrasting rhythms; this is ex- 
tremely effective. The passages in question may serve 
here as examples of the polyphonic treatment of the 
brass. (Examples 120 and 121.) 





Beethoven sometimes emploved the trombones in pairs, 
like the trumpets; but the accepted custom of writing 
them in three parts appears preferable to me. 

It is diiScult to determine with precision the degree 
of speed obtainable on the trombone in certain passages. 
NewrthelesSy the following may be stated: in 4-* time 
of an Allegro moderato. a passage in simple eighths .i-e. 
eight notes to a bar' is practicable on the brass trom- 

The tenor and alto trombones, being a little more 
agile, can execute passages in triplet eighths twelve 
to a bar} without too much trouble: 

But these are the natural limits of their agility: to go 
beyond them means to venture into unsafe re^ons, to 
cause confusion — if not to attempt the impossible. 

The character of the timbre of the trombones varies 
with the degree of loudness. In fortissimo is is menac- 
ing and terrifying, especially if the three trombones are 
is unison, or if at least two are in unison and the third 
takes the octave of the same tone. Such h tlie thunder- 
ous D-minor scale which forms the basis of the chorus 
\»f Furies in the second act of Gluck’s “Iphigenie en 
Taaride''. Example 122. ; Such also — but still more 
sublime — is the immense outcry of the three trombones 
in uni^son answering, like the angry voices of th.e gods of 
the underworld, Alceste‘s cries. “Ombre! larve! com- 
pagr.e di mortel", in tliat wonderful ari-: whose original 
main idea Gluck allowed to be perverted by the French 
trunvlatjr, but which has nevertheies> remained in every- 
body's memory with its unfortunate first verse. “Div;- 
nites da Styx.' ministres de la mort!" There is another 
remarkable passage in this piece toward the end of 
first section where the trombones, divided into three 
parts, answer the phrase of the aria, “Je n'invoquerai 
point votre pitie cruelle'’, imitating its rhytlim: by the 
vary effect of this division the sound of the trombones 
immediately assumes something at once ironic, rough, 
frightful and jocose, whicJi differs markedly from th* 
sublime rage of the preceding unisons, > Example 1 23. ' 









In three-part harmony and particularly in their medi- 
um range, the tromhones have in forte an expression of 
heroic splendor, full of majesty and pride, which could 
be weakened and destroyed only by the prose of a vulgar 
melody. In such cases they assume the expression of the 
trumpets — ^but with far more nobility. They no longer 
^ threaten — ^they admonish; instead of roaring they sing. 

Wagner lets them accompany Wotan as an almost 
continuous symbol of proud power. Compare also; 
“Tannhaeuser/'* third act^ (Wolfram)^ as a symbol of 
solemn resignation (Example 124 ) ; “Tristan”, first 
act, death potion (Example 125 ); Isolde's threat to 
Kurwenal (Example 126 ) ; “Tristan”, third act 
(“goettlich ewiges Urvergessen” — diyine, unending 
all-obliyion) — (Example 127 ). 








As .1 n2aar:::5ct‘r*i to thesr examples I 

should like to mention the rinaring laughter after 
Hogm’s words “Rue^tig gezecht bis der Rausch euch 

zaehmt. Alles den Goettern zu Ehren, dass gute Ehe 
sie geben/' (Example 128.) 




In the entire “Ring" Wagner generally wrote for 
four trombones, adding a double-bass trombone in 
order to separate the sound of the bass tuba com- 
pletely from the trombones and to combine it with 
the kindred timbre of tubas and horns. 

When using three trombones, one must remember that 
the tone of the bass trombone is always more or less 
prominent, especially if the first one is an alto trombone. 
(Example 129.) 





The piAQissimo of the trombones « employed in minor sion so dramatically as Spontini in his incomparable 

chords is gloomy, mournful — I might almost say, hor- funeral march in “La Vesta-le”, and Beethoven in the 

rible. Especially if the chords are short and interrupted immortal duet of Liconore and the jaBer in the second 

by rests, one can imagine strange monsters uttering act of “Fidelio”, while they are digging a grave for the 

groans of repmsed rage from a gruesome darkness. . prisoner condemned to die. (Examples 131 and 48, page 

la my opinion no one has used this particular cxpres- 124.) 




The habit of some modern masters to form a quartet 
of three trombones and an ophicleide^ assigning the 
actual bass to the latter, is rather objectionable. The 
penetrating and prmninent tone of the trombones is by 
no means the same as that of the ophideide. 1 consider 
it much better to use the ophideide only for doubling 
the lowest part or at least to give the trombones the real 
bass by writing their three parts as if they were to be 
heard alone. 

Gluck, Beethoven, Mosart, Weber, Spontini and sev- 
eral other composers have fully comprehended the high 
value of the trombones. They have ingeniously employed 
the different characteristics of this noble instrument to 
depict human passions as well as to reproduce the sounds 
of nature. They have faithfully preserved its power, its 
dignity and its poehy. But to force it — as the majorify 
of contemporary composers does — to bowl in a Credo 
crude phrases more fitting for a saloon than for a 
church ; to play as if to cdebrate Aldmnder’s entry into 
Babylon, when there is actually nothing more a 

dancer^s pirouette; to strum the tonic and dominant of a 
song in which a guitar could furnish an adequate ac- 
companiment; to join its Olympian voice with the trashy 
mel^y of a vaudeville duet or with the frivolous noise 
of a quadrille; to prepare in the tntt! of a concerto the 
triumphant entry of an oboe or flute — all this means 
degrading a magnificent individuality, making a slave 
or a buffoon out of a hero, marring the sound of the 
ordiestra, paralysing all rational progress in instrumen- 
tation; it means destroying the past, present and future 
of art, committing a wanton act of vandalism and dis- 
closing a lack of feeling for musical expression which 
comes dose to stupidity. 

Trombone mutes have been introduced recently 
with success. They are similar to the mutes of the 
: horn and are — siinilarly to the trumpet mutes — easy 
I to handle. In forte th^ give the trombones a rattling 
I sound, in pp a tremen^nsly gruesome, fantastic and 
! g^bomy one. 



(V^fh ^OQS or CyRnders) 

There are alto trombones in and F; one must 
therefore indicate precisely for which of these keys one 
writing because this trombone is usually treated as a 
rransposing instrument. It has no slide and is in certain 
respects a cornet with piston* in or F with a some- 
what stronger tone than the real cornets. 

The range of the alto valve trombone is the same as 
that of the ordinary alto trombone. It is written in the 
alto-clef or in the G-clef, transposing' like the cornet: 

Alto tromboBi 
with pistons 

Actual pfteBi 

Since the valve trombone does not have the slide., it 
cannot produce the so-called pedal tones of the other 
trombones. Those trills of the alto trombone with a slide 
which are produced only by means of the lips can also 
be executed on the valve trombone. Several trills can also 
be played with the aid of the valves^ but in general only 

minor trills are of good effect and can be executed rap- 
idlv. The following are the best: 

The valves lend the trombones great agility^ but re- 
duce their purity of intonation a little. It is easily under- 
stood that the trombone^ with its slide instantaneously 
obeying the slightest move, must be the purest of all 
wind instmments in the hands of a player who posses- 
ses a good ear; whereas the valve trombone, lacking 
the slide, becomes thereby an instrument with fixed in- 
tonation which can be modified very little by the lips. 
The alto trombone with valves is frequently employed 
for solo melodies. Well phrased, such a melody can dis- 
play much charm; but it is an error to assume that the 
same melody wonld not sound just as well if played on 
a slide trombone — sls has been frequently demonstrated 
with success by M. Dieppe. The advantage of purer 
intonation must be decisive for the composer, unless 
there are very rapid passages to consider. 

In Germany there are tenor trombones with cylinders 

which descend as low as ^ ^ gpxte of 


this advantage I prefer the slide trombones. 

I Verdi’s treatment of valve trombones and trumpets 
has been dealt with in the chapter on trumpets. I 
have only to add here that Wagner’s manner of em- 
ploying them for the expression of calm dignity and 
wisdom or of heroic, unrestrained vigor as in the 
Ride of the Valkyries corresponds much better with 
the true nature of the instrument. 


To exkxieh the ensemble of brass instruments In his 
Kibelong e^cle, Wagner devised, in addition to the 
hast trumpet, a quartet of tubas famished with horn 
moadbipiem and to be played by horn players. 

The tenor tubas are in a^ have a range from 

(somidlng one tone lower), the 

bass tubas are in F with a range from 

(souidyosg a fifth lower), including ■& chromatic 
intervals. In bis scores Wagner writes the tenor tubas 

in £^, the bass tubas in for the sake of better 
legibiUiy, as he says in a footnote — an explanation 
which is not very convincing. 

Supported by the bass of the double-bass trombone 
and double-bass tuba, they serve almost everywhere 
in the scores of the '*Ri]^’ as the bearers of the 
solemn and majestic Walhall motif. 

But their hoarse and rancorous tone can just as 
well symbolise Alberich's fierce hate and envy or the 
swellixig vein of fury on Wotw*8 forehead (end of 
the second act of **Wa]knere”)* notice especi^j the 
sensible silence of the tabas--C8sentially legato in- 
struments — during the two sharp final riiords (Ex- 
ample 182). 












t*onol'«de tlie discussion of the wind instruments 
with JL few wjrds concerning the bugle family. 

T3-e simple bugle is written in the G-elef like the 
trair.pit and has altogether eight tones: 

ably the most that one could espect from it. 

Since its tube is much shorter than that of the trum- 
pet. the bugle has only the tones of the three lower 
octaves of the latter: 

The highest of these* C, can be produced almost only 
on the lowest bugle ; and the lowest tone is of very poor 
quality. This instrument exists in three keys — C and 
other keys are very rare. The flourishes played on 
it, consisting exclusively of the three notes of the com- 
mon clmrd. are necessarily of a boring uniformity bord- 
ering on vulgarity. The tone of this instrument is not 
very pleasant, it has no distinction, and it is hard to play 
on it in tune. Since it cannot execute diatonic succes- 
sions, trills are of course impossible. 

Bugles appear to me to hold no higher rank in the 
hierarchy of brass instruments tlian the fifes do among 
the wood-wind instruments. At best, both can serve the 
purpose of leading recruits to the parade, although in 
my opinion our soldiers — old or young — ought never to 
listen to such music: for there is no reason why they 
should hecs>me accustomed to the vulgar. However, since 
the tone of the bugle is very strong, there might be 
some occasion for using it in the orchestra; for instance, 
to reinforce some terrible outcry of simultaneously 
played trombones, trumpets and horns. This is prob- 

On account of the small length of its tube, these notes 
sound an octave higher and are therefore written as 

Conseqently the bugle in C is a non-transposing instru- 
ment; bugles in B^ and are transposing and are 
written like trumpets in B^ and E^: 

Bugle in Bb 

Actual pitch 

Bugle in £6 
Actual pitch 


In cavalry music and even in some Italuin orchestras 
OM' finds bugles with seven kt*ys, which have a chrom- 
atic range «>f more tlian two octaves: 

The bugle can execute trills on all tones of its scale, 
vith the exception of: 


It does not lack agility, and some artists play it excel- 
lently ; hut its tone is exactly like that of the plain bugle. 


(With Pistons or Cylinders) 

It has a lower range than the preceding. However, 
this is of no particular utility since its low tones are of 

very poor quality and respond easily on;y on the small 
bugle in which has therefore the greatest range; 

Bugle with 
cylinders in E& 


This instrument is much better than the key bugle; 
it is quite suitable for rendering certain melodies of 
slow or at least moderate tempo. In lively or gay pas- 
sages, however^ it shows the same shortcomings which 
we pointed out in the valve cornets: it has no distinc- 
tion, although this may be improved to a certain degree 
by the individual player’s skill. 

Beginning from the middle £ ; 

all major and 

minor trills are good on the valve bugle, with the excep- 

tion of 

which is verv ditScuIt. 


Ophicleides are the altos and basses of the bugle. The 
bass ophicleide is excellent for sustaining the lowest 
part of massed harmonies; among the different ophi- 
cleides^ it is the one most frequently used. It is written 
in the F-clef, and its range is three octaves and one 

Xneludina aU ehromatie intarvaJs 

A skillful player can execute the major and minor 
trills, beginning from the second C of its scale (as M. 
Caussinus has shown in his excellent textbook). 

only very imperfectly with the lips and left much to be 
desired as regards intonation and steadiness. Thanks to 
the valve added to the instrument by M. Caussinus it now 
sounds as well as the' other tones. 

Diatonic and even chromatic passages up to a certain 
speed can be executed in the three higher octaves of the 
ophicleide; but below they are extremely difficult and 
of very inferior effect, e.g.: 

Staccato passages are considerably more difficult and 
are scarcely practicable in fast tempo. There are bass 
ophicleides in two keys^ C and now they are also 
made in AK The latter will be very useful because of 
the i-ery low pitch of its lowest tones, which are in unison 
with the three-stringed double-bass. The ophicleide in 
has already rendered important service in this re* 
spect. They are both written as transposing instruments: 

One can perceive that the first low G in the second ex- 
ample is in unison with the G of the double- 

bass. Unfortunately the ophicleide in is still used 
very little. 

The sound of these low tones is rough; but in certain 
cases, under a mass of brass instruments, it works mir- 
acles. The highest tones are of a ferocious character, 
which has not yet been utilised appropriately. The 
medium range, especially if the player is not skilled, 
recalls too closely the tone of the serpent and cornett; 
I believe that it should rarely be used without the cover 
of other instruments. Nothing is more clumsy — I could 
almost say, more monstrous — ^nothing less appropriate 
in combination with the rest of the orchestra than those 
more or less rapid passages played as solos in the 
medium range of the ophicleide in certain modern operas. 
They are like an escaped bull jumping around in a 




There are alto ophicleides is F and in ; their range 
is the same as that of the bass ophicleide. Both are 
written in t!ie G-clef, like the horns; and their pitch, 
like that the horns^ is an octave below the written 

notes. This C corresponds with this C of the The transpositions caused by the different keys of the 

instrument result in the following scales : 

Actnal pitch 


Alto ophicleides are used in some military bands for rather commonplace and theb intonation is inaccurate, 

filling out the harmony and sometimes even for melodic This is probably the reason why these instruments have 

passages; but their tone is generally unpleasant and almost completely fallen into disuse. 


The double-bass ophicleides, or monster ophicleides, 
are very little known. They might be useful in very large 
orchestras; but up to the present nobody in Paris has 
been willing to play them because of the volume of 
breath required. This surpasses the lung power of even 
the strongest man. They are in F and Le. a fifth 
lower than the bass ophicleides and an octave lower 
than the alto ophicleides. In writing for them, one must 
not go above F: 




Actual pitch 

It goes without saying that trills and rapid passages 
are incompatible with the nature of such instruments. 


This is an Instnimeiit of very low range, without keys 
but with three cylinders. Its timbre differs only little 
from that of the ophicleide. It is in F, witib a range of 
two octaves and a sbeth: 

It has a few additional tones at both ends of UhlM 

scale, but their emission is so uncertain that it is better 
to avoid them. 

This instrument, whose tones are very powerful, can 
execute only passages of moderate speed. Bapid runs 
and trills are unplayable on it. It produces good effects 
in large orchestras in which wind instrmneitts predomi- 
nate. Its natural tones are those of the F-major scale, 
wherefore the instrument is called **in F’*. Nevertheless 
it is treated in Germany as a non-transposing Instrument 
like tibe tronsbones and written in actual pitch. 




(The double<bass of Oie wood*wbid} 

This is a kind of bombardon, whose mechanism has 
been improved by Herr Wieprecht, director of ail music 
bands of the Royal Prussian guard regiments. The bass 
tuba, which is now widely used in northern Germany, 
especially in Berlin, possesses important advantages 
over all other low wind instruments. Its tone, incompar- 
ably more noble than that of the ophicleides, bombar- 
dons and serpents, has something of the vibrant timbre 
of the trombones. It is less agile, but more powerful 
than the ophicleides, and its range extends lower than 
that of any other instrument in the orchestra. Its tube, 
like that of the bombardon, produces the tones of the 
F-major chord; A. Sax now also makes bass tubas in 
Notwithstanding this difference, they are all treated in 
Germany as non-transposing instruments. The bass tuba 
has five cylinders, and its range is four octaves, (These 
instruments have been introduced in France some years 
ago, where they are written as transposing instruments 
—like the horns and trumpets.) 

(In Fnnen this scale would be written a third lower.) 

With the aid of the cylinders a few notes can be ad- 
ded above and even below this scale. Extremely high 
tones are very risky and extremely I'lw one^ hardly dis- 
tinguishable. The tones marked * A, B*'. C] are clearly 
audible only if doubled in the higher octave by another 
bass tuba, which imparts more sonority to these tones, 
and 35 in turn simultancou^ily reinforced by them. 

Of coarse, thia instrument is ar* unsuired to trills and 
rapid passage.^ as the bjinbirdor.. It can play certain 
broad and slowly moving melodics. The effect of a great 
number of ba-s tubas in ,i large military band is beyond 
imagination. They sound like :i combination of trom- 
bones and the organ. 

!; The bass tuba was used by Wagner particularly 
for cubic and gloomy melodies /‘Eine Faust-Ouver- 
ture. Example 133’;, the double-bass tuba with 
!; special success as bearer of the Fafner motif in the 
|; second act of “Siegfried' Ex.ample ISI’'. In the 
B-major middle tJieme of the “Tannhaeuser” o\er- 
!; ture. however, the bass tuba, reinforcing the double- 
basses, is bearable only in large orchestras and if it 
is played not louder than mf. In the subsequently 
added bacchanal of the Venasberg scene, on the other 
I hand, its expression of primitive sensuality has a xcar- 
I velous effect (Example 135';. 


S Fag. 

Hraniii D. 















Trp.iii E. 










3‘ I myself have frequently -written a single tenor 
I tuba in as the higl^r octave of the bass tuba; bat 
I; performances have shown that, as a melodic instru- 

ment, the euphonium (frequently used in militar] 
bands) Is much better suited for this than the rougl 
and elnsBsy Wagner tubas with their demonic time. 



This is a wooden instrument eovered with leather, 
with a mouthpiece. It has the same range as the bass 
ophicleide, bpt less agility, purity and sonority. Among 
its tones there are three which are more powerful than 

the others; 

; the player should try 

to smooth down this disturbing unevenness as much as 
possible. The serpent is in and must therefore be 
written a' tone higher than the actual pitch, like the 
ophicleide in 




The truly barbaric tone of this instrument would be 
much better suited for the bloody cult of the Druids 
than for that of the Catholic church, where it is still in 
use — as a monstrous symbol for the lack of understand- 
ing and the coarseness of taste and feeling which have 
governed the application of music in our churches since 
times immemorial. Only one case is to be excepted: mas- 
ses for the dead, where the serpent serves to double the 
dreadful choir of the Dies Irae. Here its cold and awful 
blaring is doubtless appropriate; it even seems to assume 
a character of mournful poetry when accompanying this 
text, imbued with all the horrors of death and the re- 
venge of an irate God. The instrument might also be 
used in secular compositions based on similar ideas; but 
its use must be limited to this purpose only. Moreover, 
its tone blends poorly with the other timbres of the 
orchestra and of voices. As the bass of a great mass of 
wind instruments it cannot match the bass tuba or even 
the ophicleide. 


This is a low instrument related to the serpent Its 
timbre is not very characteristic, and it lacks steadiness 
and hence purity of intonation. In my opinion it might 
be dropped from the famOy of wind instruments without 
the least injury to art Its general range is: 

Inelndiiis the chtomatle intcrrils • 

Some players can reach the low C and 

to the hfgh D ■ ‘ft' ■ ; but these are exceptions 

go up 

cannot be counted on in actual practice. The best tones 
of the Russian bassoon are D and £^. Only extremely 
inferior effects can be expected from trills on this instru- 
ment Russian bassoons are found in military bands. It is 
to be hoped that they will disappear forever as soon as 
the bass tuba becomes generally adopted. 


Voices are naturally divided into two great categories; 
the male (or low) and the female (or high} voices; the 
latter comprise not only women’s voices but also &ose 
of children of both sexes and the voices of artificial 
sopranos and altos (castrati). Each of these two cate- 
gories is subdivided into two classes, which, according 
to the generally accepted theory, have the same range 
but different pitch. The assnmj^os customary in all 
Italian and German singing schools is that the low male 
voice — the bass — reaches from F under the stave of the 
F-^ef to D and above the stave; and that the hig^ 
male voice — ^the tenor — ^is a fifth above the bass and 
goes from C under the stave of the tenor-def to A and 
above it Women’s and children’s yokes range in the 
same order, exactly an octave above the two men’s 
voices: contralto (corresponding to the bass) and sop- 
rano (correspondi:^ to ^ tenor). Hence the contralto 
can go (like the bass) from the low F to the high 
(almost two octaves), and the soprano (like the tenor) 
from low C to htg^ 


(falffll T4»iQ« of 
a eUldren) 


(hjfhToleftof mtn) 

(loir Toietof 
woBca a ehfldxw) 


(low vole* of mn) 

Doubtless this regular division of the four most easily 
distinguishable human voices is very tempting. But dose 
examination shows that it is in many respects insufficient 
and hazmfnl, since its rigid cbservance would dqwivc 
the choral composer of many prec i ous voices. In reality 
nature does not proceed the same way in aR dimates. 


WbOe it iff trae that it produces many contralto voices in 
Italjj it cannot be denied that it is very sparing with 
them in France. Tenors who can easOj reach high A and 
are plendfol in Italy and France; but th^ are rare in 
Germany^ where — as a compensation — their low tones 
are more sonorous than in the other countries. Therefore, 
it appears to me very unwbe to write choruses always in 
four real parts in accordance with the classical division 
into soprano, contralto^ tenor and bass. In Paris, at any 
rate, the contralto in such a chorus (especially if it is 
numerous) would be so weak in relation to the bther 
voices that the effect planned by the composer would be 
distorted. It is equsily certain that the majority of 
tenors in Germany, and even in Italy and France, if 
kept within the tra^tional limits (that is, a fifth higher 
thim the bass) would break down in passages where the 
composer reqoires them to go up to the high A or or 
else they wo^d produce false, forced or ugly sounds. The 
case is exactly the opposite with the basses; most of them 
lose much of their sonority below C or B. It is there- 
fore useless to write G and F for them. Since nature 
everywhere produces sopranos, tenors and basses, I con- 
sider it more prudent, more practical and even more 
musical — ^if one wants to give each voice the same im- 
portance — ^to write either for six parts: first and second 
soprano, first and second tenor, baritone and bass (or 
first and second bass) ; or for three parts, taking care 
to divide each part as the voice approaches the limits 
of its range: the first bass then takes the notes too low 
for the second bass, but a third, a fifth or an octave 
higher; notes too high for the first soprano or first 
tenor are given to the medium range of the second 
soprano or second tenor. It is less important to separate 
the first sopranos from the second if a phrase goes very 
low than in the opposite instance. It is true that high 
voices lose all their power and their peculiar character 
if forced to siug tones properly belonging to the con- 
tralto or to the second soprano; but at least they are 
not in danger of producing u^y sounds such as the 
second sopranos do when forced to go up too high. It is 
the same with the two other voices. The second soprano 
and the second tenor are usually a fourth below, and the 
first bass the same distance above the main voice whose 
name they bear, and they have almost the same range; 
this, however, applies more to the second soprano than 
to the second tenor and first bass. If the second soprano 
is assigned a range of an octave and a sixth, from B 
to G: 

Soprano II 

all the tones will sound well. It will not be quite the 
same with the second tenor if it is given a scale of the 
length; its low D, C and B would have scarcely 
any sonority. Unless a special effect is intended, it is 
better to avoid these notes and to give them to the fiwt 
or second basses, who can sing them with perfect ease. 
The opposite is found regarding the first basses or bari- 
tones: suppose they were a third above the second bas- 
ses and their scale would consequently ext end from the 
low A to the high G, then the low A would be duU and 
weak, the hi gh G foroed. Hence it follows that flic sec- 
ond tenors and first basses have the smallest range: the 
second tenors can neither go as higji as the first nor de- 

scend much lower; the first basses do not reach as low 
as the second and at the same time can scarcely go 
higher. In a chorus written — ^as I propose — ^in six parts, 
the real contraltos ( a large chorus always includes a 
greater or smaller number of them) most necessarily 
sing the second-soprano part; where the part goes above 
the high F, they must be divided once more lest the 
lower, true contraltos be forced to scream notes too high 
for them. 

{ (All this is very worthy of note.) 

The following list shows the range of the most sonor- 
ous tones of the seven different voices found in most 
large choruses. Not included are the extremely high or 
low tones available only to a few singers. These should 
therefore be used only in exceptional cases. 

Soprano I 
Soprano II 


Tmor 1 

Tenor 11 





Three-part women's choruses have an enchastiiig 
effect in compositions of a religions or tender character. 
They are divided into the voices jnst mentioned: first and 
second soprano and contralto. Sometimes a tenor part is 
added as a bass to these three women s voices. Weber 
has done so with success in his chorss of elves in 
'"Oberon". But this is only advisable if a soft and quiet 
effect is intended, since such a chorus can obviously not 
have much power. On the other hand, chomses conr- 
posed only of men's voices are very powerful, pariicu- 
larly when the voices are lower and lets divided Divid- 
ing the basses into first and second (to avoid high notes) 
is not so necessary if rough and wild effects are intended; 
for the forced tones (such as the high F and P#) are 
better suited because of their peculiar character than the 
natural tones of the tenon on the sa me notes. But these 
tones should be skillftilly prepared; one must not jump 
abruptly from the medinm or even the low range to the 
extreme upper register. Gluck, in his terrible dwros of 
Scythians in the second act of ‘^Iphlgfnie en Tanride", 
lets all the basses, joined with the tenon, sing the high 
F# with the words, ''Ik nous ambneut des vktlmes''; 

but this F# Is twke pxteeded by a D, and by Uttdi^ 


two notes on the syllable “nous" the voice is easily car- 
ried from the D to the F-. 




D& sle nns stibst das Cp-fer sea - •> tfso. 
Ha •sous a - - we-afjrfrfM n3e - ft ’ - - uus» 

I'fjur 1 y - f-f y ir,j4ij5 [ 

DSi tie VOS Mibst das Op-fer saa - * dea- 
Jb 9CHS s - - • - siar. 

The btiddcn unison of the tenors and basses gives the 
phrase so much sonority and emphasis that it is impos- 
sible to hear it without shuddering. Here we have an- 
other of those touches of genius that are to be found on 
almost every page in the scores of this giant of dramatic 

Aside from a particular idea of expression which was 
apparently decisive in this case, simple considerations of 
vc»cal scoring may frequently necessitate such choral 
ani*^ons. For instance, if a certain melody leads the first 
tenors up to the B i,a dangerous tone, which should bet- 
ter be .avoided), one can let the second soprano and con- 
tralto join the tenor just for this passage; they can sing 
easily in unison with the tenors, blending with them and 
supporting their intonation. 

Soprano 11 & 

Tenor 1 & 11 

On the other hand, if the tenors are forced by the 
design of a melody to descend too low, the first basses 
serve to support and reinforce them, without changing 
the character of the sound conspicuously. It would be 
different, of course, if the tenors or — still worse — ^the 
basses were to support the contralto and second soprano 
voices; for the female voices would be overshadowed and 
their sound would be suddenly changed by the entry of 
the male voices so as to destroy completely the unity of 
such a passage. This method of supporting one voice 
by another must therefore not be employed indiscrimi- 
nately for all voices if one wants to preserve the peculiar 
character of the voice carrying the melody and of the 
voice taking it over. For, I repeat, just as the contral- 
tos in their middle register become lost when sustaining 
in unison the high register of the tenors, so, on the other 
hand, would the middle range of the tenors — ^joining the 
low register of the second sopranos — cover them so that 
the sopranos would be almost completely inaudible. If 
the composer simply wants to add the range of one voice 
to that of another in a descending melodic line, he must 
not let a mass of heavy timbres suddenly follow one of 
lighter quality because the joining-point would be too 
apparent. In such cases it is better to let the upper half 
of the high voices cease first and then to replace it by 
the upper half of the low voices, whereas the lower half 
enters a little later. For instance, let us assume a de- 
scending scale of considerable extent, beginning with the 
high 6 sung by the combined first and second sopranos ; 
when the scale reaches E, a tenth below the initial G, 
the first sopranos stop and the first tenors enter on D (a 
tone below the last E of the high sopranos) ; the second 
sopranos continue the descending movement unisono 
with the first tenors, stopping only on the low B, where- 
upon the second tenors enter on A, in unison with the 
first tenors ; then these cease on F, to be replaced by the 
first basses; the junction of the second basses with the 
second tenors takes place on the low D or C ; and finally 
the two groups of basses descend together to the low G. 
The resrdt for the hearer will be a descending scale of 
three octaves, during which the voices follow each other 
in such a way that the transitions are scarcely noticeable. 

Soprano I 


Tenor 1 

Tenor U 





After tiiese remarks the reader will easily understand 
that the composer has to adapt the choice of vocal regio- 
ters to the clmracter of the composition. For an Andante 
in snstained and soft tones he would employ only the 
tones of the medinmi register; they alone have tiie suit- 

able timbre, th^ move with calmness and precision and 
can be sustained pianissimo without without the slightest 
effort. This is what Moxart did in his sublime prayer 
*‘Ave verum corpus** (Example 186 ). 





















Excellent effects can be obtained from the lowest tones 
f the bass — such as the and even the D under the 
fcave. Many voices can produce them easilv if thev have 
[xne to take them (Le. if they are preceded by a rest for 
reathing) and if they coincide with sonorous syllables, 
hi the other hand^ choral pieces of brilliant, pompous or 
iolent character should be written somewhat higher; 
ut the high tones must not predominate continually 
or must the singers be forced to pronounce a great num- 
er of words rapidly. The resulting fatigue would soon 
npair the execution ; and such a succession of high tones 
n different syllables is also rather unpleasant from the 
stener's point of view. 

Beethoven, in his inspired impetuosity, unfortu- 
nately did not avoid this mistake in his choral works 
(Le. Ninth Symphony, Missa Solemnis). On the other 
hand, because of the recklessness of his magnificent 
choral polyphony, the great Johann Sebastian Bach 
often m^es the voices (tenor, contralto and especially 
second soprano) descend so low that the most impor- 
tant fugue subjects can be imagined by the reader of 
the score, but not heard with clarity by the listener. 
For the sake of the polyphonic clarity of these won- 
derful creations it would almost be advisable to ar- 
range Bach's great choral works according to Berlios' 
ideas, bringing in a few tenors for important passages 
to support excessively low phrases of the sopranos, or 
a few basses (or baritones) for the support of alto or 
tenor melodies descending too low. The general imita- 
tion of this method is warmly recommended. A good 
example of beautiful treatment of the chorus is the 
a-capella prayer in the third act of **La Mnette dc 
Portici", where the unisono of the medium range of 
sopranos and contraltos produces an excellent effect. 

We have not as yet spoken of the very high tones which 
are called head tones or falsetto^ Those of the tenors are 
of great beauty and extend the normal range consider- 
ably; with the head voice some can reach or even F 
above the stave without effort. These tones might be 
used more frequently and successfully in choruses if 
choral singers were more proficient in the art of singing. 
The head voice of -basses and baritones is tolerable only 
in an extremely light style of music — such as the French 
comic operas; these h^h, feminine-sonnding tones, so 
different from the natural tones of the low voices — the 
so-called chest-voice — have actually something repulsive 
about them, except in the case of musical jokes. There 
has never been any attempt to employ them in a chorus 
or vocal piece of noble style. 

The point where the chest voice ends and the head 
voice starts cannot be determined exactly. Skillful tenors 
are able to produce certain high tones such as A, B and 
even C in forte with the chest or bead voice, as they 
choose; but 1 believe that the high B^ should generally 
be considered the extreme limit of the chest voice of the 
first tenor. This again proves that the tenor voice is not 
strictly a fifth above the bass, as is stated in most school 
theories; for among twenty basses selected at random 
at least ten will be able to sing the high F^i^ in chest 
voice after due preparation, whereas one cannot find 
among an equal number of tenors a sin^e voice able to 
sing a tolerably good hi£^ in chest voice. 

The old ma^rs of French opera, who never employed 
the head voice* wrote for a voice which they called 
haMie-eamire, and which foreigners* deceived by the 
meaning of the Italian word eoniralic, often mistake for 
the low women's voice. However, this name indicates a 
male voice trained to sing almost exclusively the five 


high tones iinciuding B) of the first tenor’s compass in 
chest voice. It is generallv assamed that the normal pitch 
was at that time a tone lower than at present; but this 
assumption does not seem to me to be irrefutable and 
entirely certain. If a high B occurs in a chorus nowa- 
days, most tenors take it in head voice; only the very 
high tenors ^khe hautes-contre) use the chest voice with- 
out hesitation. 

Children’s voices are of excellent effect in large choirs. 
Boys’ sopranos have something incisive and crystalline 
about them which is lacking in the timbre of women’s 
sopranos. However, in soft, dignified and calm compo- 
sitions the latter appear to me preferable because of 
their fuller and less strident sound. As for artificial 
sopranos and contraltos — to judge from those I have 
heard in Rome — it does not seem that their almost com- 
plete disappearance is to be regretted. 

In northern Germany and in Russia there are basses 
of such low range that composers are not afraid to let 
them sustain the low D and C under the stave even with- 
out any preparation. These precious low voices contri- 
bute considerably to the wonderful effect of the choir 
in the Imperial Chapel in St. Petersburg — ^the foremost 
choir in the world according to the judgment of all who 
have heard it. In the high registers, however, these very 
low bass voices can scarcely reach B or C above the 

To employ the lowest tones of the bass voices appro- 
priately, one must guard against giving them rapid suc- 
cessions of tones with too many words. Vocalisisi^ (i.e. 
holding one vowel or syllable during several notes) o 
choruses in the low part of the scale is of extremely poor 
effect; it is not much better in the medium range. 

In spite of the example set by most of ^ famous 
masters, let us hope that those ri£calous tonal roulades 
on the words **KyTie deison” or “Amen", which contri- 
bute toward making vocal fugues in church music an 
Indecent aad abominable tomfoolery, will be banned 
from any sacred eomposit&m aspiring to be worthy of 
Ha purpose. However, slow and soft vocalisations of 
sopranos mceompanying a mdody of lower voices have a 
pious and seraphic expression. One must not forget to 
intersperse them with short rests to give the singers time 
for breathing. 

The special kinds of voice production in men’s voices 
called mixed and dark voice are very valuable and lend 
a 'peculiar character to solo as well as choral singing. 
The mixed voice combines, to a certain degree, the sound 
of the chest voice and the head voice. As with the latter, 
it is impossible to determine fixed upper and lower limits 
for the mixed voice. One voice can produce very high 
mixed tones ; others cannot go so high. The dark voice — 
whose character is indicated by its name — depends not 
only on the manner of production, but also o>n the degree 
of force and on the expression of the singer. A chorus 
in not too fast tempo, which is to be sung softly (sotto 
voce), can very easily be executed in dark voice, pro- 
vided that the singers possess a feeling for expression 
as well as experience in singing. This kind of execution 
always produces a great effect if contrasted with the 
powerful and brilliant tones of a forte in the high range. 

As e magnificent example oi this effect we can cite the 
chorus “Suis I’amour puisqne tu Ic veux" in Gluck’s 
“Armide". Its first two stanxas, sung in dark voice, lend 
even more power to the conclusion, sung in full voice and 
fortissimo on the repetition of the words “Suis I’amour”. 
It is impossible to characterize any better the suppres- 
sed menace and the sudden outburst of wrath. Indeed, 
this is the way the spirits of hate and fury must sing! 
(Example 187.) 





ifril Wl-Ua 

In performiiig a phrase which cannot be sung m 
one breath, a large chorut (e.g. a hundred sopranos) 
is divided so thdt four groups of twenty-five sopranos 
each breathe in fonr different places m the j^rase. 
This is exadly the same method aa that used In ex- 
tended violin melodks where only one stroke of the 
how is indieatedL 


137. ABMIDE, ACT m 


Elar.iu C. 


1 . 









So far we have only -dealt with the voice as used in 
choral bodies. The art of writing for solo voices requirej- 
the consideration of so many varied points that it is 
difficult to enumerate them all; they vary with the pecu- 
liarities of each individual singer. One could :>how hew 
it is best to write for Rubini, for Dubrez. for Haitzinger 
(three well-known tenors \ but n^t how to write a tenor 
part equally suitable for all three. 

Of all the voices the solo tenor is the one hardest to 
write for because of his three registers — chest voice, 
mixed voice and head voice — ^whose range and facility, 
as I have already stated^ vary with the individual singer. 
One performer is particularly skilled in using the head 
voice and can give much sonority even to his mixed voice : 
another sings with ease high and sustained phrases in 
all dynamic shadings and in all degrees of rapidity, 
preferably on the vowels E and I ; a third one produces 
head tones with difficulty and prefers to sing all the 
time in full and vibrant chest tones ; a fourth one excels 
in passionate pieces, but because of a voice which is 
somewhat slow in responding, he requires moderate 
tempos; he will prefer open syllables and sonorous 
vowels like A, he will dread sustained high tones and 
consider a high G held for several bars difficult and 
risky. Thanks to the flexibility of his mixed voice, the 
first will be able to s:trike a high and load tone without 
preparation; on the other hand, the second needs to 
have such a tone prepared gradually because he employs 
his chest voice for it, reserving the mixed and head tone< 
exclusively for the mezzoforte effects and tender accents. 
Another, whose tenor belongs to the voices formerly 
called haute-contre in France, will not he afraid of high 
notes at all because he can take them with a full chest 
voice, without preparation and without danger. 

The first soprano is less difficult to treat than the 
first tenor; its head tones are scarcely different from 
the rest of the voice. Still, in view of the inequalities 
in soprano voices, one should know exactly the singer for 
whem one writes. Some sopranos sound weak and pale in 
the medium or low register; the composer has to con- 
sider this in selecting the registers for the main notes 
of a melody. 

The mezzo-soprano (second soprano) and contralto 
voices are generally more homogenous, and therefore 
easier to treat. However, these two voices should not be 
required to sing many words on high phrases, since this 
makes the prononneiation of syllables vexy difficult if 
not impossible. 

TIjc ciinvpns'^:;t voice is thr has*, hfcauM- nf its 

simplicity. Since head tones are not U‘*ed, one need not 
worry about changes of timbre. The choice of syllables 

also less important. Every -.inger possessing a true 
!>as.s voice muat be able to sing a re?i>onab!y written 
b-iss part ranging frrm tht low G E'’ above the stave. 
Some voices descend much lower, as for instance that of 
Levasseur, who can sing low and even D; some, like 
Alizard. rise tw"* and even G without the slightest 
ioss in purity of dound: but these are the c.xception**. On 
the other hand, there are voices which without being able 
to go higher than E’’, ]jave no sonority below C ^within 
the stave j ; these are fragmentary vaices, difficult to 
use — however great their power and beauty. Baritones 
in particular are frequently of this tv'pe; they have 
voices of very small range, moving almost always within 
a single octave «.from medium to the higher E^), 
which makes it very difficult for the composer to avoid 
a certain monotony. 

The excellence or mediocrity of a vocal performance — 
choral as well as solo — depends not only on the art of 
using the registers, on the careful desigpaation of hreath- 
ing points and on the choice of words to he sung, but 
above all on the manner in which the composer arranges 
the instrumental accompaniment. Some accompaniments 
overwhelm the voices by an instrumental uproar which 
might be excellent before and after the vocal passage, 
but not while the singers are trying to make it heard. 
Others again, without unduly overloading the orchestra, 
take delight in displaying some single xbstrument by 
letting it play runs and unnecessarily complicated figures 
during an aria ; thus they detract the listener's attention 
from the main subject and i^onfound and annoy the 
singer instead of aiding and supporting him. This does 
not mean that the simplicity of accompaniments should 
be exaggerated and all expressive and musically interest- 
ing figures should be banned from the orchestra. They 
are very appropriate, particularly if interspersed with 
short rests which give the vocal movements a certain 
amount of rhythmic freedom and do not compress the 
measures with metronomic exactitude. Thus the sighing 
motive of the violoncellos in the pathetic aria in the last 
act of Rossini's “Guillaume Tell'’ (“Sois immobile”)— 
whatever some great artists may say against it — ^has a 
touching and admirable effect. It expresses the idea of 
this complicated piece clearly without impeding the voice 
in the least, and enhances the affecting and sublime ex- 
pression of the aria. (Example 138.) 






A solo instrument playing a cantilena in the orchestra 
corresponding with the vocal melody and thus forming 
a kind of duet with the voice is also frequently of excel- 
lent effect. The horn solo in the second act of Spontini’s 
“La Vestale**, which joins Julia’s voice in her sorrowful 
and passionate aria “Tois que j ’implore”,, gives added 
intensity to the vocal part. Never has the mysterious, 
veiled and somewhat painful tone of the horn in F been 

used more ingeniously and mare dramaticallr, l Examole 
139 ). 

Another example :s Reciia’s cavatina in the second act 
of Halevy's “La Juive”, accompanied by a solo of the 
English horn. The weak and touching v*iice of this in- 
strument joins in this scene most iffecti.ngiy with the 
supplicating voice of the young girl. 




Runs, arpt'ggios and variations of a solo instrument 
during a vocal piece are^ I repeat, so disturbing for the 
singer as well a"! for the hearers that it requires great 
art ind a cogent reason to make them acceptable. At any 
rate, I must admit that I always find them insufferable 
— with the sole exception of the solo viola in Aennchen*s 
aria in the third act of “Freischuetz”. Notwithstanding 
t3 e fxampie set by Mozart, Gluck and the majority of 
ancient masters as well as some modern composers, it is 
seldom good to double the vocal part with an instrument, 
especially in an Andante. Tljis is almost always super- 
fiuivjs. the voice being sufficient for the enunciation of a 
mt-lody. Moreover, it is rarely agreeable; the inflections 

of the %*oice, its expressive nuances and subtle shadings 
would be mereR burdened and weakened by the addition 
of a second melodic part. Finally, it is wearisome to the 
skilled singer, who will doubtless perform a fine melody 
better if the execution is left to him alone. 

Sometimes a kind of vocal orchestra is formed in 
choruses or in large ensemble pieces; one part of the 
voices adopts an instrumental style and sings, beneath 
the melody, accompaniments of various forms and 
rhythms. This almost always results in the most charm- 
ing effects ; cf. the chorus during the ballet in the third 
act of “Guillaume Tell” by Rossini, “Toi que I’oiseau 
ne suivrait pas” (Example l-iO). 


Serste Soprano. 


% erste TeniSre. 




Toi que IbU seen ne aoi-vrait pasy 

soito voce 

WirMdehenaU* smdmeder daj 

Anoschaataviensiaeler tea paa, 4-tran-g^ - re ai le-gi-re, venx-tu plai-rey 
sotio voce 

f Lie-der, tojnetwie- der, FriMingssan - ne, sirnhPkemieder GlUckfmdWanne, 
sotfo voce 

> ABoachaiitaTleiisxneler tea paa, 4-tran-g^ - re ai le-ge-re, yeox-ta plai -re. 






•AaefolB pea, fteuritcm-Tttl - le eaiinoiiisbel- le, qoandpria dbl - le vontteapaa. 

A all ae faia pas, flenr lum-yBl - 1« eat molaa M - le, qaaoaprfa dM - le vont tea paa. 



It remains to point out to composers that in pieces 
accompanied by instruments the vocal harmony should 
be complete^ as if there were no accompaniment. The 
various timbres of the instruments are too dissimilar 
from those of the voices to supply basses for them^, with- 
out which certain chord successions would appear de- 
fective. Gluck^ in whose works many sixth chor^ are to 
be found, used them also in his* priestess choruses in 
“Iphig&ie en Tauride*'; these are written for two so- 
prano parts only. In these h&rmonic successions the 
second part is a fourth beneath the upper part; the 
effect of these series of fourths is softened only by the 
basses, which are a third below the medium part and a 
sixth below the upper part. Now, in these choruses by 
Gluck the sopranos execute the two upper parts and are 
written in series of fourths. The lower part, which com- 
pletes the chords and renders them harmonious, is given 
to the instrumental basses, whose tone is entirely differ- 

ent irox that of the srprano?*. This diiTcmice it '*n- 
hanced by their extreme depth ind their distance from 
the singers. Con>eqentIy. these o: fourths 

sung on the »tage sound like dissonances ,or ire. at 
least, extremely harsh', because of the apparently mis- 
sing complementary sixth<. 

In the choruA “0 soz2ge affreus” in the first act of the 
same opera these chord successions serve to increase the 
dramatic effect: but this is not the c.ise in the fourth act. 
when the priestesses of Diana sing the hyman "Chaste 
Slle de Latone” with its ancient and yet so beautiful 
color. Here, purity of harmony is absolutely indispen- 
sable. The series of clearly audible fourths in tiie vccal 
part is a mistake on Gluck’s part — a mistake which 
could have been avoided by adding a third vocal part 
under the second one, an octave above the orchestral 
basses. (Examples 141 and 142.*^ 




Ghor der 


dsoage «f- trtaxi mdt cf -*fro - ja-ble! 
I Sovran n. 

6 4oa - levrl 



0 wel-eks JfdeMt/ wksdrMtS§s Jr mtm! Wkleh 0fwAt/ 

■■ ”**"*• ■*» Oi 

% f lip 

f - 

o »or»t«l ef - fM! tan oesr- 

0 9M T rmm~g9 - Hekti 







Male choruses in the unison^, introduced into dramatic 
music by the modern Italian schools are occasionally very 
effective; but they have been greatly misused. If certain 
masters continue using them, they do so out of mere 
laziness, or to please certain choral bodies which are 
an ihle to execute 'competently pieces in several parts. 

On the other liand, doulble choruses are of remarkable 
ricliness and splendor. They are certainly not used too 
muci: at present. 

The men's choruses in “Lohengrin” should be stud- 
ltd as models of clarity and expressive chnracteriza- 
! ; tion. 

<; It Is to be regretted that the art of a*-capella sing- 
:ng * (i.e. choral works without any instrumental 
; I accompaniment ) is no longer practiced in Germany — 
I[ with very few praiseworthy exceptions — whereas it 

is stUl cultivated in a few places abroad (e.g. in Hol- 
land.« Russia and above all at the Orfeo Cktala in 
; Barcelona). 

For our musicians who are always in a hurry — com- 
posers as well as performers — double choruses are too 
tiresome to write and to study. In fact, the ancient com- 
posers who made the most frequent use of them usually 
wrote only for two alternating choruses of four voices 
each; choruses of eight real parts are rather rare even 
with them. There are also compositions for three 
choruses ; if their basic idea is worthy of such rich reali- 
zation, such choral bodies, divided into* twelve or at least 
nine real voices, produce unforgettable impressions and 
make choral mUsic of the grand style the most powerful 
of all the arts. . 


These are of two kinds: one comprises the instruments 
of fixed and musically determined pitch; the other, those 
whose sound has little musical value and can be ranked 
only among indefinite noises^ is usable for special effects 
and for coloring fhe rhythm. 

The kettledrums, the bells, the glockenspiel, .the key- 
board harmonica, the small ancient cymbals have fixed 

The bass drum, the tenor dmm^ the side dron^ the 
tambourine, the cymbals, the gong, the trian^^ and the 
crescent produce only noises of various 'characters. 

One can also include here the birdi rod, the casta- 
; nets and the rattle. The birch rod is used in Mahler's 
Third Symphony, the rattle in my **Till Enlenspi^;el** 
(as a humorous imitatimi of the wild shrieks of market 
women suddenly stirred up from their restV 


Of ail the peTcnssicai instraments, I consider ket* 
tiednuns the most valuable; at least th^ are in most 
general use, and modem composers have achieved the 
most picturesque and dramatic effects with them. The 
old masters nsed them almost exclusively in oomposi- 
tfcott of a brilliant and militaiy character to sound the 
tottie and dominant in more or less common rhythms, 
combined almost always wU the trumpets. 

} Miidem composers still grossly misuse the kettle^ 
I dmaos by empl^ing them modi too frequently. 

In the majors^ of orchestras there are only two ketUe- 
dmau, the larger of which produces the lower tone. 
They sre usnally given the first and fifth steps of the 
in which the composition is writtea. Up to quite 
recent times, some masters had the habit of invarWy 

writing S - . j , ,j„, , for the kettledrums and merely 

Indicating the actoal tones at the begiimmg of the piece, 
wrote, for instanee, Timpani in D, in which case 

xng G and C to mean 

These two examples 

will suffice to demonstrate the shortcomings of this 
method. The composite range of the two kettledrums 

is one octave, from 

Thai is 

to say, by means of the screws increasing or diministir 
ing lAe tension of the skin (the so-called bead), the 
lower kettledrums can be toned in the following pitdes: 

and the higher kettledrums as follows; 

. 1 ^ 


; or, 7%npa]ii in G, mak- 

tlK* MUfftta of Oe OemiM —fe 5^ tlirfr wffrtle Mndb beiiw neclUlikK^wiai 

te «90Bepltai of a few mtf ki,. lodetlea, partkalarlf of teachen. ^ 


(Glass Harmonica) 


This instrament is of the same type as the preceding: 
its hammers, however, strike glass plates. Its sound is 
of an extremely volnptnous ddicacy and might be used 
in the most poetic effects. Its tone, like that of the 
keyboard with steel bars, is very weak. This fact should 
be kept in mind when it is to be combined with other 
orchestral instruments. The slightest forte accent of the 
violins would cover it completely. It would blend better 
with a light acoHnpaniment in pisxicato or in harmonics, 
or with some very soft tones of the flutes in their medium 

The keyboard harmonica sounds as it is written. It 
can scarcely be given a range of more than two octaves. 

All tones above the high £ 
and those below D ^ 

are scarcely audible 
are of poor quality and 

even weaker than the rest of the scale. This shortcoming 
might perhaps be remedied by using stronger glass plates 
for the low range. 

Pianoforte manufacturers usually also build this 
charming and too little known instrament It is written 
on two staves and in two &clefs. 

It should not be necessary to add that the manner of 
playing these two little keyboard instruments is the same 
as that on the pianoforte and that one can write for them 
(of course within the limits of their range) the same 
runs, arpeggios and chords as one would for a tiny 

The Celesta, invented by Mustel in Paris, is an 
important addition to the orchestra. It may be con- 
sidered an improved Glockenspiel, provided with a 
1 ; keyboard; its tone, produced by steel plates, is simi- 
j! lar both to the Glockenspiel and to the harp. Its 
I range is five octaves. Its beautiful sound is frequently 
1; utilhsed by modem French and Enssian composers, 
but older works benefit by it as well (e.g. Papageno's 
aria in “Zauberfloete**). 

G. Charpentier in particular has combined it very 
subtly and effectively with other soft orchestral colors 
1 in bis opera "Louise”. 


They arc very small. Their sound rises in pitch as they 
become thicker and smaller. I have seen some in the 
Pompeian Museum at Naples which were no larger than a 
piaster. Their tone is so high and weak that it is scarcely 
audible unless all other instruments arc silent. In ancient 
times they served to mark the rhythm of certain dances, 
probably in the same fashion as our modem castanets. 

In the fairy-like Scherio of my "Romeo and JuUet” 
Symphony I have employed two pairs, equal in si»c to 
the largest of the Pompeian cymbals (i.e. somewhat 
smaller tho-n a hand), and toned in fifths. The lower one 

gives^^his = , and the hi^er one this F: 

* “ To make them vibrate well, the players 

must not strike them together with their entire surfaces 
but only with the edges. Any bell maker can manufacture 
these small cymbals. They are cast in brass or copper 
and then ton^ in the desired key by means of a lathe. 
They should be at least a third of an inch thick. They 
are delicate instruments similar to the keyboard har- 
monicas, but their tone Is stronger and can be heard 
through a large orchestra playing piano or meaaoforte. 


Among the percussion instruments with indefinite 
sound the bass drum is certainly the one which has done 
the greatest mischief and has been most misused, in 
'Modern music. None of the great masters of tiie last 
century thought of introducing the bass drum into the 
orchestra. Spontini was the first to use it in* the trium- 
phal march in "La Vestale” and later in several pieces 
of his "Fernand Cortes”; there it was in its prop» 
place. But it is really the height of folly to use this 
instrument in all ensembles, in every finale, in the most 
meaningless choruses, in tunes and even in cava- 
tinas— as has been done during the past fifteen years; to 
call the matter by its right name — it is really sheer 
brutality. The composers do not even have the excuse 
of intending to accentuate a basic rhythm against other 
accidental rhythms. No — ^they senselessly beat the ac- 
cented parts of each ibar, they mush the orchestra, they 
choke the voices. No longer is there any melody, h^ 
mony, form or expression left; the prevail^ key remains 
scanty rccogniMble. And yet they naively think th^ 

have created an energetic instrumentation, something 
especially beautiful ! 

It is needless to add that in these cases the bass drum 
is almost never used without the cymbals — os if these 
two instruments were inseparable by nature. In some 
orchestras they are even played by the same mnsician; 
one of the cymbals is fastened on top of the bass drum, 
so that he can strike it with the other cymbal in his 
left hand while nsing the drumstick with his right hand. 
This economical procure is intolerable; the cymbals lose 
their sonority and produce a noise similar to the sound 
of a f fl llw g bag full of old iron and broken The 
resulting music is utterly trivial and devoid of any bril- 
liance. It is perhaps suitable for the accompamment of 
dawoiTig monies, jugglers, mountebanks, swallowers of 
swords and snakes in public squares and at dirty street 

Nevertheless, the bass drum is of admirable effect if 
used skillfiilly. The entrance of tiie bass drum in a full 
orchestra can, for instance, redouble the force of a 



As stated above, kettledrums liave a range nf onlv one 
octave. Tlie diffieuitv of obtaining skins sufficiently 
large to cover a shell bigger than that of the large bass 
kettledrum probably accounts for the fact that no tone 
lower than F can be reached. But this does not apply to 
liitf a kettledruEns ; it would certainly be ea>y to gain the 
liigh G, A and B'' by diminisSiing the diameter of the 
metal shell. Such !»nsall kettledrums might be of excellent 
effect in niiny instances. 

In the pa*%t kettledrummers rarely changed the tun- 
ing of their instrument in the course of a composition; 
however, composers now do not hesitate to require 
changes in tuning quite frequently. The performers 
might be spared this difficult and awkward procedure 
if there were two pairs of kettledrums and two drummers 
in every orchestra. At any rate, if the tuning has to he 
changed, the performer must he given a number of rests 
commensurate with the change required, thus affording 
him time to effect it securely. Besides, the tuning should 
not be too far removed from the old one. For instance. 

if the kettledrums arc tuned in A and E * 

and one wants to go into the key of it would 
obviously he clumsy to have the new tuning in F and B& 


whidh would involve tuning 

down the low kettledrum by a third and the high one l^ 

an augmented fourth; the tuning B&, F (fifth) 

necessitates the raising of both drums by only a semi- 
tone. It will easily be understood how difficult it is for 
the drummer to prepare a new tuning during a com- 
imsition abounding with modulations; he may have to 

do the tuning for the keys of C or F while the orchestra 
is playing in B. This shows that the kettledrummer 
should not onl}* be skilled in the manipulation of the 
drumsticks, but should be a gifted musician with a sen- 
sitive ear. This is why good kettledrummers are so rare. 

There are three kinds of drumsticks. Their use changes 
the tone of the instrument to such an extent that com- 
posers are more than negligent if they fail to indicate in 
their scores which kind of stick they desire. 

Sticks with wooden ends produce a roughs dry^ hard 
sound, suitable only for single violent blows or to ac- 
company a tremendous noise in the orchestra. Sticks 
with trodden ends covered with leather are less hard; 
they produce a sound less startling than the preceding, 
hut still very dry. Unfortunately, in many orchestras 
only sticks of this type are used. The best sticks have 
sponge ends; their effect is less noisy and more musical. 
They should be used more frequently than the others. 
These sticks give the kettledrums a jprave, velvety 
sound, which makes the tones very clear and hence the 
toning very distinct; they can render many different 
shadings from the softest to the loudest, such as the 

other sticks could produce only with n^^y or at least 
inadequate effect. 

Whenever it is desired to produce mysterions, darkly 
menacing sounds, even in forte, sticks with sponge ends 
should ^ prescribed. Since the elasticity of the sponge 
accelerates the rebound of the stick, the player need only 
touch the skin very lightly to obtain very delicate, soft 
and close rolls in pianissimo. Beethoven has made excel- 
lent use of the pianissimo of the kettlednnns in his Bk- 
major and C-minor Symphonies; these admirable pas- 
sages lose much if played without sponge heads, even 
though the composer specified nothing in his scores on 
this point (Examples 144 and 145.) 




Wagner employs a single anxious pulse beat of the 
kettledrum in “Walkuere” in Siegmund*s monologue 
and the “Todesverkuendigung ** — a sublime effect 
during the solemn silence of the entire orchestra. 

There is* a strange kettledrum passage in the second 
Finale of Beethoven*s **Fidelio”: 

C To make the repetition of beats in this rapid tempo 
I possible^ this passage is executed with crossed arms. 

Particularly in the scores of the old masters, the indi- 
cation muffled or covered kettledrums is frequently 
found. This means that the skin of the instrument is to be 
covered with a piece of cloth, which damps the sound 
and lends it a mournful expression. Drumsticks with 
sponge ends are preferable in this case. Sometimes it is 
advisable to indicate which notes the drummer should 

execute with two sticks and which with a single stick: 

The nature of thfi rhythm and the position of the heavy 
accents should decide this choice. 

The tone of the kettledrums does not extend very low. 
It sounds just the way it is written — in the F-clef; it is 
therefore in unison with the corresponding notes of the 
violoncellos and not an octave below them, as is some- 
times assumed. 

I The pedal kettledrums, invented by Hans Schnel- 
ler in Vienna, seem to have attained the facility of 
mechanism and the sensitivity in tuning which had 
been sought for such a long time. They permit rapid 
and precise changes in tuning by merely pressing a 
lever with the foot; at the same time they provide 
against irregular changes in the skin which are fre- 
quently caused by the weather. 


They have been introduced into instrumentation more 
for the sake of dramatic than of purely musical effects. 
The timbre of low bells is appropriate only for solemn 
and grandiose scenes. On the other hand, that of the 
high bells has a more serene character; it has something 
rustic and naive about it; this makes it particularly 
suitable for religious and pastoral scenes. For this 

reason Rossini has employed a little bell in high G 

to accompany the graceful chorus in the second act of 

“Guillaume Tell”, whose refrain is “Voici la nuit”; 

whereas Meyerbeer used a bell in low F ^ - to 

give the signal for the massacre in the fourth act of 
his *‘Les Huguenots”. At the same time the bassoons 
play a B - the diminished fifth of this F ; together with 
the low tones of the two clarinets (in B*> and A) these 
create that ominous sound which spreads awe and hor- 
ror in this immortal scene. (Example 146.) 




Tcello u. 





En- tends - tn 
MffrsS du dis • 

sons fti - ne - trest 


The wonderful application of the bells in '*Parsi~ 
fal” ^ ^ J J l still meets with great 


(Les Jeiuc de Timbres) 

Very felicitous effects are obtained - especially in bottom. These chimes, which are struck with a little 
military bands - with a set of eight or ten very small hammer, can execute melodies of moderate speed and 

bells fastened to an iron bar one above the other in small range. They are made in different keys; the 

diatonic sequence according to size, the highest tone highest ones are the best, 
being at the top of the pyramid and the lowest at the 


In his “Zauberfioete” Mozart wrote an important 
part for a keyboard instmment which he called the 
Glockenspiel, It doubtless consisted of a great number 
of small 'bells arranged in such a fashion that they 
could be sounded by a mechanism of keys. He gave it 
the following range: 

Inelndiiia the ehzomatfe intervals 

and wrote it on two staves and in two clefs^ like the 
pianoforte. (Example 147 .) 

When the pasticcio “Les Mysthres dTsis*’, which 
contains more or less disfigured parts of the music of 
“Die Zauberfloete*’^ was performed at the Paris Opera^ 
they had a little keyboard instrument built for the 
Glockenspiel music; its hammers struck steel bars in- 
stead of beUs. Its sound is an octave higher than the 
written notes. It is soft, mysterious and of extreme 
delicacy. It is suitable for the most rapid movements, 
and it is much better than the instrument with little bells. 




Chor ■ 
der Sklaven.1 





(Glass Harmonica) 

This instrument is of the same type as the preceding; 
its hammers, ‘however, strike glass plates. Its sound is 
of an extremely voluptuous delicacy and might be used 
in the most poetic efiFects. Its tone, like that of the 
keyboard with steel bars, is very weak. This fact should 
be kept in mind when it is to be combined with other 
orchestral instruments. The slightest forte accent of the 
violins would cover it completely. It would blend better 
with a light accompaniment in pizzicato or in harmonics, 
or with some very soft tones of the flutes in their medium 

The keyboard harmonica sounds as it is written. It 
can scarcdy be given a range of more 'than two octaves. 

All tones above the high £ 

and those below D 

are scarcely audible 

are of poor quality and 

even weaker than the rest of the scale. This shortcoming 
might perhaps be remedied by using stronger glass plates 
for the low range. 

Pianoforte manufacturers usually also build this 
charming and too little known instrument It is written 
on two staves and in two G-clefs. 

It should not be necessary to add that the manner of 
playing these two little keyboard instruments is the same 
as that on the pianoforte and that one can write for them 
(of course within the limits of their range) the same 
runs, arpeggios and chords as one would for a tiny 

The Celesta, invented by Mustel in Paris, is an 
;I important addition to the orchestra. It may be con- 
sidered an improved Glockenspiel, provided with a 
I; keyboard; its tone, produced by steel plates, is simi- 
j: lar both to the Glockenspiel and to the harp. Its 
range is five octaves. Its beautiful sound is frequently 
utilized by modern French and Russian composers, 
but older works benefit by it as well (e.g. Papageno's 
aria in “Zauberfloete"), 

G. Charpentier in particular has combined it very 
' ; subtly and effectively with other soft orchestral colors 
;I in his opera “Louise”. 


They are very small. Their sound rises in pitch as they 
become thicker and smaller. I have seen s<mie in the 
Pompeian Museum at Naples which were no larger than a 
piaster. Their tone is so high and weak tliat it is scarcely 
audible unless all other instruments are silent. In ancient 
times they served to mark the rhythm of certain dances, 
probably in ihe same fashion as our modem castanets. 

In the fairy-like Scherso of my "Romeo and Juliet" 
Symphony I have employed two pairs, eq^l in sise to 
the largest of the Pompeian cymbals (i.e. somewhat 
smaller than a hand), and tuned in fifths. The lower one 


gives^is :^=== , and the hi^er one this F: 

To make them vibrate well, the players 

taatast uot stvike them together with their entire surfaces 
but only with the edges. Any bell maker can manufacture 
these small cymbals. They are cast in brass or copper 
Gind then ton^ in Ihe desired key by means of a lathe. 
They should be at least a third of an inch thick. They 
are delicate instruments similar to the keyboard har- 
monicas, but their tone is stronger and can be heard 
through a large orchestra playing piano or mezzoforte. 


Among the percussion instruments with indefinite 
sound the bass drum is certainly the one which has done 
the greatest mischief and has been most misused, in 
“modern music. None of the great masters of the last 
century thought of introducing the bass drum into the 
orcdiestra. Spontini was the first to use it in* the trium- 
phal march in “La Vestale” and later in several pieces 
of his “Fernand Cortez”; there it was in its proper 
place. But it is really the height of folly to use this 
instrument in all ensembles, in every finale, in the most 
meaningless choruses, in dance tunes and even in cava* 
tinas — as has been done during the past fifteen years ; to 
call the matter by its right name — ^it is really sheer 
brutality. The composers do not even have the excuse 
of intending to accentuate a basic rhythm against other 
accidental rhythms. No — ^they senselessly beat the ac- 
cented parts of each tbar, they crush the orchestra, they 
choke the voices. No longer is there any melody, h^ 
mony, form or expression left; the prevailing key remains 
scarify recognizable. And yet they naively think they 

have created an energetic instrumentation, something 
especially beautiful ! 

It is needless to add that in these cases the bass drum 
is almost never used without the cymbals — ^as if these 
two instruments were inseparable by nature. In some 
orchestras they are even played by the same musician; 
one of the cyii^als is fastened on top of the bass drum, 
so that he can strike it with the other cymbal in his 
left hand while using the drumstick with his right hand. 
This economical procedure is intolerable ; the cymbals lose 
their sonority a^ produce a noise similar to the sound 
of a falling bag full of old iron and broken glass. The 
resulting music is utterly trivial and devoid of any bril- 
liance. It is perhaps suitable for the accompaniment of 
dancing monkeys, jugglers, mountebanks, swallowers of 
swords and snakes in public squares and at dirty street 

Nevertheless, the bass drum is of admirable effect if 
used skillfolly. The entrance of the bass drum in a full 
orchestra can, for instance, redonUe the force of a 



broad rhythm which lias already been established and 
gradually reinforced by successive entrances of the most 
sonorous instrumental groups. In this instance it does 
wonders: the rhythmic power of the orchestra becomes 
immensely intensified; unbridled noise is transformed 
into music. 

The pianissimo of the bass drum and cymbals together^ 
struck at long intervals in an Andante is majestic and 
solemn. However, the pianissimo of the bass drum alone 
(if the instrument is well built and of large size) is 
gloomy and ominous; it resembles the distant sound of 

In my Requiem I have used the bass drum in forte 
without cjmbals and with two drumsticks. By striking 
the instrument alternately from both sides, the perform- 

er can produce a rather quick succession of sounds. 
Combined, as in this work, with kettledrum rolls in 
several parts and with an orchestration depicting an- 
guish and terror, these sounds convey the idea of the 
strange and awful uproar accompanying great cata- 
clysms of nature. (Example 148, p.372). 

I In his mountain Symphony, Liszt also employed 
the bass drum very poetically to paint a solemn, dis- 
tant rumbling. 

I have used the bass drum in another instance in a 
symphony to obtain a hollow roll much lower in pitch 
than the lowest tone that the kettledrum could produce. 
The bass drum was placed upright like a military drum 
and was played simultaneously by two drummers. 


^ I 

(lull 1 II 1 II 

r .1 

Kl. PI. 


[lar. in C 





r - -f" 






sanff soil of . feri poor nous, qae leor sang soil of . fiert pour nous! 

Got . f«ri2 £fcr Frtm . Got . <for - do% BIkV 

sang* soit of - feri pour nous, que lenr sang soli of - fert pour 


!| A wonderful^ fantastic effect in “Rheingold” is the 
discreet symbolization of the gold by a pp roll on a 
! freely suspended cymbal with a soft kettledrum stick. 

I The cymbal stroke on the first chord of Liszt’s 
; “Mazeppa”, similar to the crash of a whip, is of 
; striking realism. 

Vigorous and well-marked rhythms in a large choral 
piece or in an orgiastic dance gain greatly by the par- 
ticipation not of one pair of cymbals, but of four, six, 
ten and even more pairs of cymbals, according to the 
size of the concert hall and according to the number of 
other instruments and voices. The composer should 
always indicate the length of the cymbal sound exactly, 
if it is followed by a rest. If a prolonged sound is 

desired, long and sustained notes must be written 
with the indication “vibrato”; in the op- 

posite case one should write eighth or sixteenth notes 

with the word 

“secco”. The latter is 

excuted by holding the cymbals against the player’s 
chest immediately after the stroke. Sometimes a drum- 
stick with a sponge end or a bassdmm stick is used to 
vibrate a cymbal suspended by its leather strap. This 
produces a long, vibrant and sinister sound whose effect, 
however, is not quite as formidable as that of a gong. « 


The gong or tamtam is used only in compositions of 
a mournful character or in dramatic scenes of ^the 
utmost horror. Its powerful, vibrating sound combined 
with heavy chords of the bass (trumpets and trombones) 

has a truly awful effect. No less frightening arc the 
lugubrious pianissimo strokes of a gong played almost 
alone. Meyerbeer has proved this. in the magnificent 
scene of "Robert le Diable” — “The Resurrection of the 
Nuns” (Example 149). 




This favorite instrument of Italian peasants^ in whose a 

festivities it plays an important rolCj is of excellent predominates; thig is written: g n J ^ I • This roll 
effect when employed in masses to stress the rhythm of ^ 

a lively dance - similary to the cymbals or together with can be only of short duration because the finger rubbing 

them. In^ the orchestra it is employed solo only to the skin soon reaches the edge^ which stops its actncm. A 

^aracterize peoples habitually using such as Gypsies, roll like this one, for instance, would be impossible: 

Basques, Italians from the Campagna, the Ahruzsi and 
Calabria. It produces three very different kinds of sound. 

If it is simply struck with the hand, its sound is of little 
value and (except in masses) is audible only when not Finally rubbing the with the whole thumb, without 

combined with other instruments. If the skin is rubbed quitting contact with the skin, produces a wild, strangely 

with the fingertips, this causes a roll in which the sound rattling and rather ugly sound, which might be used in 

of the jingles fastened around the edge of the instrument special cases, e.g. in a masquerade scene. 




The drums proper are used almost exclusirelv in large 
bands. Their effect increases and becomes more noble 
in proportion to the number of drums employed. A single 
drum - particulary if used in an ordinary orchestra - has 
always appeared to me to sound low and vulgar. Yet 
it cannot be denied that Meyerbeer produced a peculiar 
and terrible effect tiirough the combination of one drum 
with the kettledrums in the famous crescendo roll in the 
Consecration of the Swords in his “Huguenots^'. But 
eighty ten^ twelve or still more drums executing rhythmic 
accompaniments or crescendo rolls in a military march 
serve as magnificent and powerful auxiliaries for the 
wind instruments. Simple rhythms without melody^ har- 
mony or key ( i.e. without the elements which constitute 
music) but simply marking the step of soldiers^ can have' 
a stirring effect if executed by forty or fifty drums alone. 
This is probably the proper occasion to point out the 
peculiar charm to the ear created by a great number of 
instruments of the .same kind played in unison or si- 

multaneously producing a noise. In watching the drill of 
infantry soldiers^ one can make the observation that at 
such commands as ^'shoulder arms" or **order arms" the 
slight click of the metal and the dull thud of the butts 
dropping to the ground are not conspicuous at all if 
only one, two, three or even ten or twenty men arc 
exercising,* but if the command is carried out by a thou- 
sand men, the thousandfold unison of a sound insig^ 
nificant in itself produces a brilliant effect. It stirs and 
captivates the attention, it is not unpleasant; and I even 
find a vague and mysterious kind of harmony in it 
Drnms are also used muffled, like the kettledrums. 
Instead of covering the head with a cloth, drummers 
simply loosen the snares or put a leather strap between 
Jbem and the lower skin, thereby checking the vibration. 
This gives the drums a dim and hollow sound similar to 
that produced by mufiiing Ibe upper skin — a sound 
appropriate only for compositions of a mournful or awe- 
inspiring character. 


The tenor drum is somewhat longer than the ordinary 
drum, and its body is made of wood instead of metal. 
Its sonnd is dnll and similar to that of a drum without 
snares, i-e. of a muffled drum. It makes quite a good 
effect in military music, and its subdued rolls serve as a 
background for the other drums. It is a tenor drum which 

Gluck uses in the chorus of Sc 3 rthians in his "Ipblg^e 
en Tauride" for beating the barbarous rhythm of the 
continuous four eighths-notes (see Example 148, p.882). 
i Richard Wagner employed it magnificently in tihe 
I Ride of the Valkyries to produce a wRd roaring effect. 


The trian^c is frequently used just as poorly as the 
bass drum, the cymbals, the kettlediums, the trombones — 
in short, all the instruments that are loud and noisy. It 
is even more difficult to use it properly in the orchestra 
than the other instruments mentioned. Its metallic sound 
is appropriate in forte only for compositions of extremely 

brilliant character, and in piano for those of a certain 
wild bizarreness. Weber used the triangle felicitously 
in the gypsy choruses of bis "Preciosa" ; Gluck was even 
more successful in his use of the instrumexzt in the D- 
major part of his terrible dance of Scythians in the first 
act of "Iphig6nic en Tauride" (Example 150). 


Un poco anima'ta 



As a magnificent example of the wise application 
of the triangle we mention again the single triangle 
stroke at the end of the second act of “Siegfried”; 

its effect here is like that of a sun ray. 

Gustav Mahler^ too, employs, all percussion instru- 
ments very ingeniously. 


With its numerous little bells it serves to lend added 
brilliance to display pieces and pompous marches of 

military bands. It can be shaken only at rather lengthy 
intervals, i.e. about twice in a bar of moderate speed. 

Some more or less imperfect or unknown instruments 
such as the aeolidicon, the anemochord, the accordion, 
the Poikil organ, the ancient sistrum etc: will not be 
treated here. Readers desirous of knowing more about 
them are referred to scientific literature on the subject. 

Our object in this work is to acquaint the reader with 
only the instruments customarily used in modem music 
and to show him how to combine them harmoniously or 
to contrast them effectively, taking into account their 
expressive possibilities and individualities. 


The author does not consider it his duty to describe 
the enormous number of experiments made daily by 
manufacturers of musical instruments and their alleged, 
more or less abortive inventions; nor need he enu- 
merate the useless objects which they try to introduce 
into the family of instruments. It is his duty, however, 
to point out to composers the really important inventions, 
particularly if their results have already had some gen- 
eral approval or practical application. The number of 
successful inventors is very small; Messrs. Adolphe Sax 
and Alexandre are outstanding among them. 

M. Sax - whose creations shall occupy us first - has 
improved a number of older instruments (as has been 
.mentioned frequently in the course of this work). He has 
also filled several gaps in the family of brass instru- 
ments. His principal contribution, however, lies in Ae 
creation of a new family of brass instruments with sin^e 
reeds and clarinet mouthpieces 'which he completed only 
a few years ago. 

These are the saxophones. These newly gained or- 
chestral voices have rare and valuable qualities. In the 
high range they are soft yet penetrating; in the low 
range they are full and rich, and in the middle range 
they are very expressive. On the whole it is a timbre 
quite its own, vaguely similar to that of the violoncello, 
the clarinet and the Englisli horn with a half-metallic 

admixture which gives it an altogether peculiar 

The body of tlie instrument is a parabolic cone of 
brass with a system of keys. Agile, suited just as well 
for rapid passages as for soft melodies and for religious 
and dreamy effects, saxophones can be used in any kind 
of music; but they are particulary suited to slow and 
tender compositions. 

The high tones of low saxophones have a plaintive 
and sorrowful character; their low tones, however, have 
a sublime and, as it were, priestly calm. All saxophones, 
especially the baritone and bass, can swell and diminish 
their sound ; this permits entirely new and quite peculiar 
sound effects in the extremely low range, which bear 
some resemblance to the tones of the “expressive organ”. 
The sound of the high saxophones is much more pene- 
trating than that of the clarinets in and C without 
having the sharp and often piercing tone of the small 
clarinet in £&. The same can be said of the soprano 
saxophone. Ingenions composers are going to a^ieve 
wonderful, still unpredictable effects by joining the 
saxophones with the clarinet family or by means of other 

The instrument can be played very easily, its fingering 
being similar to that of the Ante and oboe. Players 
famiUar svith the clarinet embouchure will master its 
mechanism within a short time. 




There are six kinds: the high, soprano, alto, tenor, 
baritone and base saxophones. M. Sax is about to pro- 
duce a seventh one: the double-bass saxophone. The 
range of all these is about the same. The following list 
shows the extreme points of their scales, written — as 
proposed by Sax and already adopted by composers — 
in the G-clef for all instruments. 

Inel. the 
chrom. int. 

Inel. the 
chrom. int. 

High saxophones 
In £6 

Actual pitch 

^ Soprano Saxophone 
in C or B6 

Actual pitdi of the 
saxophone in B& 

Major and minor thrills are practicable almost over 
the entire scale of the saxophones; only the following 
should be avoided:^ ^ = 

laeL the 
chrom. int. 

Inel. the 
chrom. int. 

Alto saxophone 
in F or E6 

Actual pitch of the 
saxophone in F 
' <The one in Eh is 
e tone lower) 

Tenor saxophone 
in C or Bb 

Actual pitch of the 
saxophone in C 
The one in Bb hi 
a tone lower) 

li i ^ 

F tT * 

r — Tffy J 

Baritone saxophone 
in F or Eb 

Actual pitch of the 
saxophone in F 
(The one in Eh is 
a tone lower) 

Inel. the 
chrom. int. 

Bass saxophone 
in C or Bb 

Actual pitch of the 
saxophone in C 
(The one in B6 is a 
tone lower) 

Inch the 
chrom. fa&t. 

M. Sax also created the families of saxhorns, saxo- 
tromhas and saxtubas, brass instruments with cup- 
formed, wide mouthpieces and with a mechanism of 
three, four or five cylinders. 


Their tone is round, pure, full and completely even 
over the whole range of their scale. The different keys 
of the saxhorn proceed, as those of the comet, down- 
wards from the main instrument - the small, very high 
saxhorn in C, an octave higher than the cornet in C. In 
France it is customary to write all these instruments, as 
well as the saxotrombas and saxtubas - the highest as 
well as the lowest - in the G-clef similary to the horns, 
with the sole difference that the actual sound of some 
very low Sax-instruments is not one octave lower than 
the note writen in the G-clef (as with the horn in low 
C),.but two octaves lower. 

The small, very high saxhorn exists in two keys, 
C and 

Small saxhorn In 
hl^ C or Bb 

Actual sound of the 
small saxhorn in high C 
(That in Bh is a 
tone lower) 

Inclndina the very diffienlt 

The extremely low tones do not sound well, and the 
instrument should hardly be used below the low A. On 
the other hand, all the tones of the higher octave are verv 
brilliant, pure and - in spite of their power - free of 
any sharpness. Moreover, the tone of the small saxhorn 
13 so clear and penetrating that a single high saxhorn 
stands out distincUy from the midst of a considerable 
number of other wind instruments. The high saxhorn in 
B* is more frequent than the one in C. Although it is a 
tone lower than tlu- latter, its two highest tones ' 

Actual pitch 
(la Bb) 

are rather difficult and require great care in playing. 
They should be used very sparingly and with caution. 
The first tone of the other saxhorns (their lowest 

natural tone) ^ ^ is of such poor quality that 


it cannot be used. It has been omitted in the following 
table. We must also mention that the chromatic range of 

the soprano saxhorn is extended beyond F# 
to C 


if instruments with four cylinders 

are usedL 

IncL the 
chroai. int. 

Soprano sasdiom 
in Eb 

a fifth lower than the 
preeediaa In Bb 

Actual pitch 

IncL the 
chrom. int. 

Alto saxhorn 
in Bb 

a fourth lower than 
the preceding 

Aetna] pitch 

Inel. the 
chrom. int. 

IncL the 
chrom. Int. 

Tenor saxhorn 
in Eb 

a fifth lower than 

Actual pitch 

Baritone saxhorn 
and bass saxhorn 
in Bb 

a fourth lower than 
the preeedina 

Actual pitch 

The baritone and bass saxhorns have the same upper 
range, but the tube of the baritone saxhorn is a littiie 
smaller. The bass saxhorn, which has almost always 
four cylinders, can reach the low tones more easily be- 
cause of its wider tube. 

saxhorn in Eb 
a fifth lower than 
the ppaeedlnx 

Actual pitch 

*^^ltion, there is the double-bass saxhorn in low 
E& and the drone saxhorn in B&, both an octave lower 
than the preceding ones; only their medium tones arc 
usable, and those only in moderate tempo. 

saxhorn in Bb 

a fourth lower than 


Actual pitch 



These are brass mstrinnents with cup-formed month- 
pieces and three, four or five cylinders^ like the preced- 
ing. Their narrower tube gives them a shrill timbre, 
somewhat similar to that of the trumpets and, at the 

same time, of the bugles. 

The saxotromba family has as many members as that 
of the saxhorns. Th^ stand in the same relation to each 
other and have the same range. 


These are instruments with cup-formed mouthpieces 
a mechanism of three cylinders. They have tre- 
mendous sonority and their sound carries very far; 
hence, they are extremely effective in open-air bands. 

They are to be treated exactly like saxhorns excqpt that 
one must keep in mind the fact that the double-bass in 
and the drone in are missing. Their evenly round- 
ed shape recalls that of the large ancient trumpets. 


This is a suiall instrument with metal tongues which 
arc vibrated by a stream of air. The concertina a^ later 
the melodhm developed from the accordion, which was 
popular as a musical toy for a number of years. The 
timbre of the concertina is penetrating and soft at the 
same time; in spite of its weakness it carries quite far. It 
combines well with that of the harp and the piano- 
forte, and still better with that of the melodium, the 
present head of this family. This latter combination, 
however, would be of little use because tiie sound of 
the melodium is too sizuilar to tiiat of the concertina and 
produces the same effects as well as some additional ones 
not possible on the concertina. 

The concertina is a small expansible box, held hori- 
aontally between both hands and compressed and expa^- 
ed alternatingly. It is played by means of buttons which, 
when pressed with the finger tips, open valves which 
admit a stream of air to a series of metal tongues. The 
air is furnished by bdlowa between the two side-walls 
of the instrument, which carry the buttons on tiie outside 
fniii the vibrating tongues inside. The bellows, having 
no valve, can be filled and emptied only through the 
valves of the metal tongues, which inhde and exhale 
the air necessary for the vibration of these tongues. 

Besides being related to the melodium, the concertina 
has a complete, small family of its own. There is a 
boss, alto and soprano concertma. The bass concertina 
has the range of the violoncello, the alto concertina that 
of the viola, and the soprano concertina that of the violin. 
The soprano concertina is almost the only one in use. 
Owing to the popularity of this instrument in England, 
it is also called the English concertina. In the first thr^ 
octaves of the two chromatic scales — one of which is 
played on the right side, the other on the left side of the 
instrument (cf. the table of ranges below) — ^the manu- 
facturer established enharmonic intervals between the 
and G# and between E*> and D# by giving the 
and E& a somewhat higher pitch than the G# and 
D#; this is in accordance with acoustical theory but 
contrary to musical practice. It is a strange anomaly- 

Being an instrument with fixed tones like the piano- 
forte, the o-rgan and the melodium, the concertina should, 
of course, be tuned in equal temper^ent like these 
instruments. Because of the enharmonic times it oanw t 
be played in its present state together with these other 
instruments without producing dissonances as soon as 

the melodic phrase or the harmony cause unisons be- 
tween the enharmonic A^ or G^, or E^ or of the con- 
certina with the same, but well-tempered tones of the 
other instrument On the instruments with equal tem- 
perament A^ and G# as well as E^ and D# are identi- 
cal; not so on the concertina. Neither of the enharmonic 
tones A^ and G# of the concertina is in strict unison 
with the or G# of the weH-tempered instrument, 
which holds the mid-point between the two tones of the 

The different tuning of a part of its scale becomes 
still more annoying if the concertina plays together 
with an instrument with movable tones such as ihe 
violin. Musical practice, musical feeling and the ear of 
all peoples cultivating modem music demand that in cer- 
tain cases the leading tones, which are drawn upward to 
the higher tonic, become slightly higher than in the well- 
tempered scale, and that correspondingly the minor 
seventh and ninth, drawn downward toward the tones 
into which they resolve, are made slightly lower. 

In the following passage, for instance, 



the slightly sharp G# of the violin would not be in 
tune with the somewhat flat G# of the concertina. 
Likewise in this passage u-wi* 


the flat A^ of the violin would not correspond with the 
sharp A*» of the concertina (each player following a law 
diametrically opposed to that of the other - on the one 
hand the law of the calculation of vibrations and on 
the other the purely musical law). To effect strid 
unison, the violinist would have to adapt his tones ti 
the fixed ones of the other instrument; he would have tc 
play off pitch. This is actually done, but to a IcsscJ 
degree — ^unconsciously and without offending the ear- 
when the violin plays with a pianoforte or with othc 
well-tempered instruments. To be sure, the system of tin 
English concertina might be reconefied with the systca 
of raised leading tones and of lowered sevenths by . 
very odd procedure, namdy, by doing the opposite o 



what acousticians think should be done about enhar- 
monic tones: one would have to play instead of G# 
and vice versa. The vicdinist^ executing the following 
phrase musically^ 

would be almost in unison with the concertina playing 
according to this absurd notation: 

The old presumption of acousticians to impose the 
results of their calculations upon the practice of art 
is no longer tenable ; for musical practice is based above 
all on the study of the impressions by tones on the 
human ear. 

It is certain that music must reject them if it wants 
to exist at all. It is equally certain that the customary 
modifications of intervals between two mutually at- 
tractive tones constitute extremely subtle shadings em- 
ployed with the greatest care by virtuosos and singers 
and generally avoided by orchestral players^ and that 
they require special treatment by composers* 

Finally, it is certain that the great majority of musi- 
cians instinctively abstain from them in harmonic 
ensemble playing. Consequently, ' tones called incom- 
patible by acousticians are entirely congenial in musical 
practice; relations fonnd by calculation to be false are 
accepted as true by the ear, ‘which completely disregards 
these very tiny differences^ — the opinions of mathe- 
matidans notwithstanding, There^ is hardly any modem 
score without melodic or harmonic passages written — to 
facilitate execution or for some other reason, frequently 
also without any reason at all — ^in a sharp key for oxie 
part of the orchestra and in a flat key for the other. 










Horn in 
lugh Ah 

in A 

(These two instrameirte are In nsisan) 

Seemingly in two different keys, of which only two tones 
are enharmonically related, as in this passage from Web- 
er's “Freisehuetz”: 




The violoncellos and double-basses seem to play in G 
minor with the trombones in minor. 

In the latter example one would doubtless notice if 
the violoncellos and double-basses played their F# too 
high and the trombones their G^ too low. But this must 
not happen in a good performance; the two tones will 
be in perfect unison in spite of their opposing tendencies. 
In these and many other cases the orchestra becomes one 
large well-tempered instrument without the players be- 
ing aware of it. 

In the celebrated chorus of demons in his "'Orfeo,'' 
Gluck established an enharmonic relation between two 
parts in an indefinite key. I mean the passage about 
which J. J. Rousseau and others have written so 
much nonsense based on the supposed difference be- 
tween G& and F#. 

1st ordiestra 
Violins, violas 
and' basses 



2nd orchestra 
Violins, violas 
and basses 

If it were a fact that the F# of the chorus and the 
pizzicato G^ of the basses are executed differently, an 
intolerable and unmusical dissonance, highly offensive 
to the ear, would result. In reality this phrase makes 
a deeply stirring and entirely musical impression upon 
the hearer, awakening in him feelings of terror and awe. 
It is true that he does not know what key he is hearing 
— B^ minor or G minor; but he does not care. His car 
is by no means offended by the combination of the dif- 
ferent instrumental and vocal parts. The tremendous 
effect of the F# of the chorus and orcdiestra is based 
on 'the unexpected introduction of this tone and on the 
strange character it has within an indefinite key, bnt 
not on the alleged, harsh dissonance witli the G^. It needs 
a naive ignorance of the effects of combined sounds 
not to understand that this dissonance cannot possibly 
be the cause of the impression, since the G^, played 


pizzicato and piano by only a few basses^ is necessarily 
covered or rather extinguished by the sudden entry of 
fifty or sixty men’s voices in unison and by the entire 
body of stringed instruments playing the F# fortissimo 

These insipid discussions^ this idle talk of litterateurs^ 
these absurd deductions of theoreticians^ all of whom are 
possessed with a mania of speaking and writing about an 
art concerning which they l^ow nothings can only amuse 
musicians. Nevertheless, it is a pity; erudition, eloquence 
and genius ought always to command the admiration and 
respect due to them. 

After this long digression I return to the English 
concertina; this is its barbaric scale: 

Notwithstanding the arrangement of the preceding 
example, the concertina is written on a single stave and 
in the G-clef. The trill is practicable on all steps of 
the scale, but it is more difficult in the lower range. The 
double trill (in. thirds) is easy. Rather rapid diatonic, 
chromatic and arpeggiated passages can be executed on 
this instrument. It is possible to add to the main voice a 
second one moving approximately parallel with the 
melody, but not several complicated voices as on the 
pianoforte and organ. One can also play chords of four 

The German concertina — ^popular also in England — 
is not constructed according to the system of the preced- 
ing. Its scale, which extends lower, to C and 


has no enharmonic intervals ; it is tuned in equal 

The range of concertinas depends on the number of 
buttons or keys, and this changes according to the 
manufacturer’s whims. Finally, this instrument — like 
the guitar — requires that the composer who wants to 
use it successfully should know its mechanism thoroughly 
and be able .to play it more or less adequately. 

(The Amedcxm Orgcm. The Hannonium) 

This is a keyboard instnunent, like the pipe organ. 
Its sound, like that of the concertina, is produced by 
delicate metal tongues over which passes a stream of air. 
This stream of air is caused by a bellows and set in 
motion by the player’s feet. The tones of the instrument 
are stronger or weaker according to the force with which 
the feet act on the mechanism of the bellows. 

Hence, the melodium organ possesses the crescendo and 
the decrescendo ; it is expressive. One of its special 
mechanisms is therefo-re called "R6gistre d’Expression/’ 
The fingering is the same as that on the organ and 
pianoforte. One writes for it on two or even three staves, 
as for the organ. It has a range of five octaves. 

Melodiums with more than one register are not limited 
to this range. The number of registers varies consider- 

The simplest melodium with only one register, whose 
range we have just indicated, has two different kinds of 
tone— that of the English horn in the left half of the key- 
board and that of the flute in the right half. The instru- 
ments with several registers may have — according to 
the intentions of the manufacturer — bassoon, comeit, 
flute, clarinet, fife, and oboe registers, so called became 
of their similarity with the instruments after whwh they 

are named; also the Grand Jeu (full organ), the forte 
and expressive registers. These give the melodium a 
range of seven octaves altl^ough its keyboard has only 

The player puts these registers into action by means of 
a mechanism similar to that of the organ; it is arranged 
at both sides of the keyboard and has wooden handles 
which are pulled out by either hand. Several other stops 
are obtain^ by a similar mechanism benieath the body of 
the instrument, which is moved from right to left or from 
left to right by the knee of the performer. 

The melodium does not possess the mixture stops of 
the organ, whose effect excites a traditional admiration 
in many people, while in reality they cause terrible 
confusion. The melodium has only single and double 
octave stops, by means of which each key can play, in 
addition to its own tone, the single and double octave, 
or the double octave without the single, or even the 
higher and lower octaves of this tone. 

Many ignorant players and lovers of noise make 
lamentable use of these octave stops. TPhis crude methoc 
is, to be sure, not as bad as the mischief done with th( 
mixture stops of the organ; for there the two other tone 
of the common chord are heard at the same time (tb 
major third and the fifth); bnt it remains crude jus 
the same. 

The resulting, unintended inversions of the chords in 
traduce the most frightful disorder into the baxmon; 
(to say nothing of the thickening of the harmonic tex 
tare). 'Ninths are transformed into seconds and seventh! 



seconds become seventlis and ninthsj fifths become 
fourths and vice versa, and so on. To preserve true musi- 
cal relations with these stops, they should be used only in 
pieces written in double counterpoint in the octave; but 
this is not done. 

The introdnctiox^ of these monstrosities into the organ 
is doubtless to be ascribed to the ignorance of the middle 
ages, groping blindly for the laws of harmony. They 
were preserved by senseless convention, and it is to be 
hoped that they will gradually disappear. 

The tones of the melodium respond somewhat slowly, 
like those of the pipe organ. They are suited predom- 
inantly to the legato style of religious music and for 
slow, soft and tender melodies. Pieces with skipping 
rhythms or of violent character, written for the melodium 
or played on it, attest in my opinion to the ignorance of 
the composer or to the poor taste of the performer, or 
to the ignorance and tastelessness of both. 

The real object aimed at and achieved by M. Alexandre 
was to give the melodium a dreamy, religious character 
and to endow it with all the shadings of the human voice 
and of most instruments. 

The melodium is at once an instrument for the 
church and for the theater, for the drawing-room and 

for the concert hall. It occupies little space ana is easily 
movable ; hence, it is of indisputable utility to composers 
and amateurs. Since Meyerbeer, Hal6vy and Verdi have 
used the organ in their dramatic works, bow many 
provincial theaters of Trance and even Germany have 
found difficulties in performing these works, and how 
many mutilations and more or less clumsy rearrange- 
ments of the scores have been caused by the lack of 
an organ! Nowadays theater managers have no longer 
an excnse to tolerate this, for the missing organ can be 
replaced easily and at moderate cost by the melodium. 

The same applies to small churches where music 
hitherto has not been available at all. A melody played 
there by a sensitive musician can and will awakefi a feel- 
ing for harmony and will do away with the grotesque 
howling which now takes the place of singing in the 
religions service. 

. The melodium* is well suited to arrangements of 
symphonic works with piano, violin and violoncello, 
1 1 as a substitute for the wind instruments. This com- 
bination is very popular with French families for 
1 1 house music; it is definitely preferable to the piano 
1 1 duets customary in Germany. 


(Py JUesKmdie) 

The prolongation of sound is the most important 
invention by which keyboard instruments have been im- 
proved in recent times. It can be applied to the piano- 
forte as well as to the melodium and enables the player 
to prolong at will a tone, a chord or an arpeggio — within 
• the entire range of the keyboard — after the hands have 
ceased pressing the keys. During this prolongation of 
a number of tones the perforpier can not only play with 
his free hands other tones which do not belong to the 
' sustained chord, but can even replay the same sustained 
tones again. It is obvious bow many different and charm- 
ing oomfamati<ms have b^n made possible by this inven- 
tion on the melodium and pianoforte. These are real 
orchestral effects, similar in character to those produced 
by string instruments playing four or five different 
voices within a harmony sustained by wind instruments 
(flutes, oboes and clarinets) or, still better, like wind 
instruments playing a phrase in several voices during 
a sustained harmony of the divided violins, or finally 
like harmony and melody moving above or below a 
pedal point. 

This prolongation of tones can take place in varying 
dynamic degrees, according to the register employed. 

Under the keyboard of instruments furnished with Ibis 
innovation two knee levers are attached so that they can 
be moved by slight pressure of the performer's 'knees; 
one, on the right side, effects the prolongation of tones on 
the rigitt half of the keyboard; the other acts similarly on 
tlie left side. The motion of the knee must take place 
simultaneously with the pressing down of tlie keys whose 
tones are to be sustained, e.g. 

A second pressure of the knee instantaneously stops the 
sustained tones : 

knee knee 

Although tile second pressure stops tlie prolongation 
produced by the first, it can at the same time start a new 
prolongation if one or several new keys are struck 

If a single tone of a short chord is to be prolonged, the 
knee motion takes place only after the fingers have re- 
leased the keys of the tones which are not to be sus- 
tained, while still holding for a moment the key of the 
tone to be sustained; only' then the entire hand becomes 
free. To change the sustained tones, a series of these 
movements is necessary m addition to the supplementary 
movement for stopping the tones whose prolongation is 
not desired, which takes place while the key of the 
tone to be sustained is still pressed down. 

kii«e knee kM« knee 

This applies equally to both halves of the k^board (by 
means of the left-liand and right-hand mechanism), and 
to the pianoforte as well as to the melodium. 

When writing sustained tones for the pianoforte or 
for the melodium organ one must use at least three 



staves, sometimes even fora. In the latter case, the upper and the lowest stave for the low ones. The two middle 

stare is reserved for tlie high <and medium sustained tones staves serve for the parts executed by both hands. 


M. Villaumej a violin maker in Paris^ whose excellent 
violins are much in demand^ has enriched the family of 
stringed instruments by a beautiful and mighty member: 
the octobass. 

This instrument is not^ as many people believe^ the 
lower octave of the double-bass^ but that of the violon- 
cello; it can reach only the third below the E of the 
four-stringed double-bass. 

It has only three strings^ tuned in the fifth and fourth: 

Since tlie fingers of the left hand are neither long nor 
strong enough to press down the strings (for the octobass 
is of colossal size)^ Villaume devised a system of mov- 
able keys which press the strings forcefully upon the 
frets placed on the neck of the instrument to produce 
whole tones and semitones. These keys are moved by 
levers which the left hand seizes and draws up and down 
behind the nedk of the bass^ and by seven other pedal 

keys which are moved by the players foot. 

Of course^ tlie octobass cannot execute rapid succes- 
sions of tones and must be given a separate part, differ- 
ing in many aspects from that of the double-basses. Its 
range is only an octave and a fifth. 


This instrument has tones of strange power and 
beauty, full and strong, without any roughness. It could 
produce extraordinary effects in a large orchestra. At 
least three should be available for music festivals if the 
number of instruments is greater than 150. 

We shall not contest here the opinion of those who 
consider the new inventions of instrument makers harm- 
ful to musical art. These inventions exercise the same 
influence in their field as all other achievements of 
civilization. The fact that they can be and are frequency 
misused does not disprove their actual value. 




The orchestra may be considered a large instrument 
capable of playing a great number of different tones 
simnltaneonsly or in succession; its power is moderate 
or gigantic according to the proportionate use of all 
or only part of the resources available to the modem 
orchestra^ and according to the more or less propitious 
application of these resources in relation to acoustic con- 
ditions of varioas type, 

; I It is also regulated by the degree to which the inner 
I; power of the themes involved not only justifies^ but 

actnally demands the fnll application of physical 
! resources. 

The performers of aU sorts, constituting together 
the orchestra, are, so to speak, its strings, tubes, pipes, 
sounding boards— machines endowed with intdligence, 
but subject to the action of an immense keyboard played 
by the conductor under the direction of the composer. 

1 believe I have already stated my conviction that the 
invention of beantifnl orchestral effects cannot be 
taught. Although this facuify can be developed by 
practice and rational observation, it belongs to those 
precious gifts which the composer, at once a poet and an 
inspired calculator, must have received from nature, 
simiOarly to talent for melody, expression, and even for 

Bnt it is certainly easy to indicate quite precisely 
him to form an orehdtira capable of faithfully rendering 
compositions in all forms and dimensions. 

A distinction should be made between theater and 
concert orchestras. In certain respects theater orchestras 
are inferior to concert orchestras.- 

The placing of the musicians is of great importance; 
whether they are arranged on a horizontal or an inclined 
platform, in a space enclosed on three sides, or in the 
middle of the ball; whether there are reflectors and 
whether these have hard surfaces (throwing back tilie 
sound) or soft ones (absorbing and breaking it) ; how 
close the reflectors are to the performers — all ^is is 
of extraordinary consequence. 

Reflectors are indispensable. They are found, in 
various forms, in every enclosed place. The closer they 
are to the source of sound the greater is their effect. 
I'his is why there is no such thing as music in the open 
air. The largest orchestra, playing in a garden open on 
all sides — snch as the Jardin des Tnileries — must remain 
completely ineffective. Even if it were placed dose to 
the walls of the palace, the reflection would be insuf- 
tident; the sound would be immediately lost in all 

An orchestra of a thousand wind instruments and a 
chorus of two thousand voices, placed in an open plain, 
would be far less effective than an ordinary orchestra 
of ei^ty players and a chorus of a hundred voices ar- 
ranged in the concert hall of the G3n8ervatoire. The 
brilliant effect produced by military bands in some 
streets of big dties conflrms this statement, in spite of 
the seeming contradiction. Here the music is by no 
means in the open air; the walls of high buildings lining 
the street on both sides, the avenues of trees, the fac- 
ades of big pakoes, near-by monuments — all these serve 
as reflectors. The sound is thrown back and remains for 
some time within the drcnmscribed space before Anally 
escaping through the few gaps in the enclosure. But 

as soon as the band reaches an open plain withont build- 
ings and trees on its march fiom the large street, the 
tones diffuse, the orchestra disappears, and there is no 
more music. 

The best way of placing an orchestra in a hall suf- 
ficiently large for the number of players used, is to 
arrange them in rows one above the other on a series 
of steps in such a fashion that each row can send its 
tones to the listeners without any intervening obstacles. 
Every well-directed orchestra should thus be arranged 
in echelons. If it plays on the stage of a theater the 
scene should be enclosed by wooden walls in the rear, 
at the sides and above. 

1 ; Shells are bad if they seat only half the orchestra, 

while the other half is placed in front of the shell. 

Pear-shaped concert halls are the best. 

On the other hand, if the orchestra is placed at one 
end of a hall or in a church and if, as frequently hap- 
pens, the massive rear wall reflects with too much 
force and hardness the sound of the instruments closest 
to it, the excessive reverberation can easily be diminish- 
ed by hanging a number of draperies or by placing 
other suitable objects there which serve to break the 
sound waves. 

The architecture of our theaters and the requirements 
of dramatic representation make this ampitheatrical ar- 
rangement impossible for opera orchestras. Their mem- 
bers are condemmed to play at the lowest point of the 
haU, on a horizontal plane, immediately in front of the 
footlights; thus, they are deprived of most of the ad- 
vantages resulting from the arrangement of the concert 
orchestra suggested by me. This is why so many effects 
are lost, so many fine shadings remain unnoticed in opera 
orchestras, in spite of the best execution. The difference 
is so great that composers must take it into •account ; 
they should not score their dramatic works in the same 
fashion as their symphonies, masses or oratorios. 

In the past the number of string instruments in opera 
orchestras was always in correct proportion to that of 
the other instruments; but for some years no 

longer been the case, A comic-opera orchestra wliich had 
only two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two French 
horns, two bassoons, rarely two trumpets and hardly 
ever any kettledrums, was well balanced with nine first 
violins, eight second violins, six violas, seven violon- 
cellos and six double-basses. Nowadays, however, with 
four horns, three trombones, two trumpets, a bass drum 
and kettledrums, but still with the same number of 
string instruments, the balance is completely destroyed. 
The violins are scarcely audible, and the total effect is 
extremely unsatisfactory. 

The Bayreuth orchestra has 16 first violins, 16 
second violins, 12 violas, 12 violoncellos and 8 double- 

The orchestra for grand opera which has — ^besides the 
wind instruments already named — ^two cornets and an 
ophicleide, various percussion, instruments and sometimes 
six or eight harps, is equally unbalanced with 12 first 
violins, 1 1 second violins, 8 violas, 10 violoncellos and 8 
double-basses. There should be at least 15 first violins, 
14 second violins, 10 violas and 12 violoncellos, although 
not all of them need be used in works with very soft 



The make-up of tne comic-opera orcnestra would be 
sufficient for a concert orchestra intended for per- 
formance of Haydn*s and Mozart’s symphonies. A great- 
er number of stringed instruments might even be too 
strong in some instances for the tender effects which 
these masters frequently assign to flutes, oboes and 

On the other hand, Beethoven’s symphonies, Weber’s 
overtures and more modern compositions in the monu- 
mental or passionate style require the number of string- 
ed instruments just indicated for grand opera. 

Yet the finest concert orchestra — for a hall scarcely 
larger than that of the Conservatoire, the most complete^ 
the richest in shadings and tone colors, the most majestic, 
the most powerful and at the same time the most mellow, 
would be composed as follows: 

21 first violins 
20 second violins 
18 violas 

8 first violoncellos 

7 second violoncellos 
10 double-basses 

4 harps 
2 small flutes 
2 large flutes 
2 oboes 

1 English horn 

2 clarinets 

1 basset-hom or 1 bass clarinet 
4 bassoons 

4 valve horns 

2 valve trumpets 

.2 comets with pistons (or cylinders) 

8 trombones ^ ^ ® tenor trombones ^ 

1 bass trombone 

1 ophicleide in B5 (or 1 bass tuba) 

'2 pairs of kettledrums with 4 drummers 
1 bass drum 
1 pmr of cymbals 

This has to be modified by including two English 
; horns instead of one, eight valve horns instead of four, 

I and perhaps two additional clarinets in D or £^, a 
double-bass clarinet, a double-bassoon and four tubas. 

It is generally indispensable to double the wood- 
wind in forte or where it has important themes. 

For a choral work such an orchestra would require: 

46 sopranos (first and second) 

40 tenors (first and second) 

40 basses (first and second) 

By doubling or tripling this mass of performers in 
the same proportion one could doubtless obtain a mag- 
nificent orchestea for a music festival. But it would be 
an error to assume that all orchestras must be composed 
according to this system, which is based on the prepon- 
derance of the strings ; the opposite plan may bring very 
beautiful results, too. In this case the string instruments, 
too weak to dominate the mass of clarinets and brass in- 
struments, serve as a harmonious link between the bril- 
liant tones of tlie brass, sometimes softening their sharp 
sound, sometimes stimulating their movement with a 
tremolo which even transforms drumrolls into music 
by blending with them. 

Commonsense tells us that the composer — ^unless he is 
forced to employ a particular kind of orchestra — must 
adapt the number of performers to the character and 
style of his work and to the principal effects demanded 
by its ideas. In a Requiem, for instance, I have employed 
four small bands (trumpets, trombones, comets and 

ophiclddes) placed seperatdy at the four comers of 
the main orchestra, in order to render musically the mon- 
umental images of the hymn of the dead. The main or- 
chestra consists of an imposing body of stringed instru- 
ments, of the rest of the wind instruments doubled and 
tripled, and of eight pairs of differently tuned kettle- 
drums played by ten drummers. It is ^certain that the 
peculiar effects achieved by this new kind of orchestra 
would be impossible with any other combination. 

In this connection I want to mention the importance of 
the different points of origin of the tonal masses. Certain 
groups of an orchestra are selected by the composer to 
question and answer each other ; but this design becomes 
clear and effective only if the groups which are to carry 
on the dialogue are placed at a sufficient distance from 
each other. The composer mnst therefore indicate in his 
score their exact disposition. For instance, the drums, 
bass drums, cymbals and kettledrums may remain to- 
gether if are employed, as usual, to strike certain 
rhythms simultaneously. But if they execute an inter- 
locutory rhythm, one fragment of which is given to the 
bass drums and cymbals, the other to kettledrums and 
drums, the effect would be greatly improved and inten- 
sified by placing the two groups of percussion instru- 
ments at the opposite ends of the orchestra, i.c. at a 
considerable distance from each other. Hence, the con- 
stant uniformity of orchestral groups is one of the 
greatest obstacles to the creation of monumental and 
truly original works. This uniformity is preserved by 
composers more ont of habit, laziness and thoughtlessness 
than for reasons of economy, 

{ This situationt is still the same even today, 
although the latter motive is, unfortunately, also a rather 
important one. This is especially the case in France, 
where music is so far from forming a part of national 
life, where the government does everything possiHe for 
the theater but nothing for music itself, where capitalists 
readily pay fifty thousand francs and more for a painting 
by some great master (because it represents a value), but 
will not spare fifty francs to organize an annual music 
festival worthy of our nation, which would display the 
numerous musical resources which we own bat do not use ! 

Yet it would be interesting to try once to combine all 
musical forces available in Paris for the performance 
of a work especially composed for such an occasion. If 
this combination were put at the disposal of a master, 
in a hall built for this purpose by an architect with a 
good knowledge of acoustics and music, the composer 
would have to determine the exact plan and arrangement 
of this gigantic orchestra first- and then design his work 
accordingly. Where such an immense body is to be used, 
it is obviously of the greatest importance to consider 
the greater or smaller distance of the various groups 
from each other. This is indispensable if one wants to 
derive full advantage from this orchestra and to eSd- 
culate with certainty the scope of the different effects. 

At past music festivals only ordinary orchestras and 
choruses were heard, quadrupled or quintupled accord- 
ing to the number of performers available. But the 
orchestra proposed here would be entirely different. 
The composer trying^to employ the extraordinary and 
enormous resources of such an instrument would have to 
solve an entirely new problem. 

Here, then, is how this could be achieved in Paris — 
with the necessary outlay of time, money and effort. The 
arrangement of Ae groups would be determined by the 



wishes and intentions of the composers. The percussion 
instruments^ which exercise an irresistible influence on 
the rhythm and always lag when they are far from the 
conductor^ should be placed as close to him as possible 
to be able to follow the slightest change of measure or 
tempo instantaneously and strictly. 

120 violins, divided into two, three or four groups 
40 violas, divided into first and seconds, if necessary; 
at least 10 of the players able to play the viola 

45 violoncellos, divided into firsts and seconds, if 

18 double-basses with three strings, tuned in fifths 
(G, D, A) 

15 other double-basses with four strings, tuned in 
fourths* (E, A, D, G) 

4 octobasses 
6 large flutes 
4 flutes in £6 
2 octave piccolo flutes 
2 piccolo flutes in Dd 
6 oboes 

6 English horns 
6 saxophones 
4 tenoroons 
12 bassoons 

4 small clarinets (in £&} 

8 clarinets (in C or Bb or A) 

8 bass darinets in Bb 

16 Frendi boms (6 with valves) 

8 trumpets 

6 comets 
4 alto trombones 
6 tenor trombones 
2 bass trombones 

1 ophideide in C 

2 opbidddes in B5 
2 b^s tubas 

80 harps 
80 pianofortes 

1 very low positive organ with at least a 16' stop 
8 ^rs of k^edrums (10 drummers) 

6 drums 
8 bass drums 
4 pairs of cymbals 
6 triangles 
6 sets of small bdls 

12 pairs of andent cymbals (in different keys) 

2 large, very low bdls 
2 gongs 

4 crescents 

465 instminentalfsts 

40 duLdren sopranos (first and second) 

100 women sopranos (first and second ) 

100 tenors fflrst and second) 

120 basses (first and second ) 

860 dionis singers 

As one sees, the chorus does not predominate in this 
ensemble of 825 performers; even so, it wonld be didi- 
cult to assemble 860 suitable voices in Paris — so little 
is the study of singing cultivated in this dty. 

Every time this entire mass is put in action, a broad 
and monumental style mnst be adopted; tender effects, 
light and fast movements are assigned to smaller orches- 
tras, which the composer can easily form out of this 
multitade and employ in musical drogues. 

Besides the radiant colors which this myriad of differ- 
ent sounds could conjure at any moment, nnheard-of 
harmonic effects could be produced — as follows; 

by dividing the 120 violins into eig^t or ten parts 
supported by the hig^ tones of the forty violas — seraphic, 
ethereal expression in ptanustmo; 

by dividing the violoncellos and double-basses in the 
low range and in slow movements — melancholy, religi- 
ous expression in mezzoforte; 

by combining the lowest tones of the clarinet family 
into a small band — ^gloomy expression in forte and mez- 

by combining the low tones of oboes, English horns, 
tenoroons and large flutes into a small band — expression 
of pious mourning in piano; 

by combining the low tones of ophicleides, bass tubas 
and French horns into a smaU band, joined with the 
pedal tones of the tenor trombones, the lowest of the 
bass trombones and the 16' stop of the organ — ^profound- 
ly grave, religious and calm expression in piano; 

by combining the highest tones of the small clarinets, 
flutes and piccolos into a small band — shrill expression 
in forte; 

by combining the French horns, trumpets, comets, 
trombones and ophicleides into a small band — ^pompons 
and brilliant expression in forte; 

by combining the 80 harps with the entire mass of 
stringed instruments playing pizzicato into a large 
orchestra, thus forming a new gigantic harp with 984 
strings — graceful, brilliant and voluptuous expression 
in all shadings; 

by combining the* 80 pianofortes with the 6 sets of 
small bells, the 12 pairs of ancient cymbals, the 6 tri- 
angles (which might be tuned in different keys like cym- 
bals) and the 4 crescents into a metallic percussion or- 
chestra — gaj and brilliant expression in mezzoforte; 

by combining the 8 pairs of kettledrums wi\h the 6 
drums and the 8 bass drums into a small, almost ex- 
clusively rhythmic percussion orchestra — menadng ex- 
pression in all shadings; 

by combining the 2 gongs, the 2 beUs and the 8 large 
cymbals with certain chords of the trmnbones — sad and 
sinister expression in mezzoforte. 

Who could envisage all the instrumental combina- 
tions which would result if each of these groups were 
joined with another similar or contrasting group? 

There could be formed; grand dnets b^een the wind 
instruments and the stringed instruments ; 

between one of these two and the chorus; between 
the chorus and the harps and pianofortes alone; 

a grand trio between the chorus in unison and in the 
octave, the wind instruments in unison and in the octave, 
and the violins, violas and violoncellos likewise in unison 
and in the octave; 

the same trio, accompanied by a rhythmic motif exe- 
cuted by all the perenssibn instruments, the double^as- 
ses, harps and pianofortes ; 

a single, double or triple chorus without accompani- 

. a melody for the combiued violins, viedas and vioiLon- 
cellos, or for the combined wood-wind, or for the c(xn- 
bined brass, accompanied by a vocal orchestra; 

a melody for the sopranos or tenors or basses, or for 
all voices in the octave, accompanied by an instrumental 

a small chorus,- accompanied by the large chorus and 
some instruments; 

a small orchestra, accompanied by the large ordiestra 
and some voices ; 

a solemn mdody executed by all bowed basses and 
accHHnpanied above by the divided violins, the harps and 



a solemn melody executed by the wind basses and the 
organ and accompanied above by flutes^ oboes^ clarinets 
and divided vioiins ; 
and so on, and so forth. 

The method of rehearsal for such a gigantic orches- 
tra would, of course, be the same as that employed for 
complex and monumental works offering difficulties in 
performance — ^Le. the method of partial rehearsals. In 
tibds analytical task the conductor would have to pro- 
ceed as follows: 

1 take for granted that he knows the work to be per- 
formed thoraughljf and m iU minutest details. First he 
would appoint two assistant conductors who are to beat 
the time during the general rehearsals, keeping their 
eyes continually upon him, in order to transmit the tempo 
to the groups too far removed from the center. 

{ (The optical telegraph is stUl the best.) 

Then he would designate coaches for each of the dif- 
ferent instrumental and vocal groups. 

He would xiow study with these coaches and instruct 
them bow to rehearse the parts assigned to them. 

The first coach would rehearse the first and second 
sopranos — ^first separately, then together. 

The second coach wo^d proceed with the first and 
second tenors in the same fashion; likewise the third 
with the basses. After this, three choruses will be 
formed, each composed of one-third of the entire chorus. 
Finally the entire chorus would rehearse together. 

In these choral rehearsals an organ or a pianoforte 
supported by a few string instruments (violins and bas- 
set could be used for the accompaniment. 

The assistant conductors and coaches of the orchestra 
would rehearse separately in the same fashion: 

1. the first and second violins — separately, then to- 

2. the violas, violonceUos and double-basses — separ- 
ately and together; 

8. all the stringed instruments ; 

4. the harps alone; 

5. the pianofortes alone; 

6. the harps and pianofortes togetlier; 

7. the wo^-wind instruments alone; 

8. the brass instruments alone; 

9. all -the wind instruments together; 

10, the percussion instruments alone, with special atten- 
tion to the tuning of the kettledrums ; 

11, the percussion and wind instruments together; 

12, finally the entire vocal and instrumental body to- 
gether under ihe direction of the main conductor. 

This procedure would, first, result in an excellent per- 
formance such as could never be obtained by the old 
method of rehearsing with all performers at once; 

( (now almost generally and rightly abandoned) 

and, secondly, it would require each performer for not 
more than four rehearsals. As many tuning forks as 
possible should he distributed among the members of the 
orchestra; this is the only way in which the accurate 
tuning of such a multitude of instruments, so different 
in character and temperament, could be insured. 

General prejudice charges large orchestras with being 
noisy. However, if they are weM balanced, well rehearsed 
and well conducted, and if they perform truly good music, 
they should rather be called powerful. In fact, nothing 
is as different in meaning as these two expressions. A 
shabby, little vaudeville band may appear noisy, whereas 
a large orchestra, skillfully employed, will be extremely 
soft and of the greatest beauty of sound even in passion- 
ate outbursts. Three trombones, if clumsily employed, 
may appear noisy and unbearable; and the very next 
moment, in the same hall, twelvo trombones will delight 
the listeners with their powerful and yet noUe tone. 
Very true and important! 

I Heavy brass sounds rather soft. Furthermore, a great 
mass of brass diminishes rather than increases the 
; power. Two trumpets, stabbing sharply into a wood- 
I wind and string orchestra, may occasionally produce 
! more strident effects than a whole army of brass 
!; instruments which balance each other. 

In fact, unisons are effective only if executed by many 
instruments. Thus, four first-rate violinists playing the 
same part will produce a rather unpleasant effect, where- 
as fifteen average violinists in unison would sound ex- 

i Particularly the pp of a large orchestra is incompar- 

This is why small orchestras are of so little effect and 
hence of so little value, however accomplished the per- 
formance of the individual players. 

On the other hand, the thousand combinations pos- 
sible with the giant orchestra above described could pro- 
duce a wealth of harmonies, a variety of sounds, an 
abundance of contrasts surpassing anything heretofore 
achieved in art. It could create, above all, an incalculable 
melodic, rhythmic and expressive power, a penetrating 
force of unparalleled strength, a miracidons sensitivity 
of gradations, in the whole or in any individual part. Its 
calm would be as majestic as an ocean in repose, its out- 
bursts would recail tropical tempests, its explosive pow- 
er the eruptions of volcanos. In it could be heard the 
plaints, the muimurings, the mysterious sounds of prim- 
eval forests, the outcries, the prayers, the triu mpha nt 
or mourning chants of a people with an expansive soul, 
an ardent heart and fiery passions. Its silence would 
inspire awe by its solemnity. Bdt its crescendo would 
make even the most unyielding listeners shudder; it 
would grow like a tremendous confiagration gradually 
setting the sky on fire. 


Theory of the Art of Conducting 

Mnsic is probably the most exacting of all arts and 
certainly one of the most difficult to cultivate. Its works 
are rarely presented to us under conditions which allow 
their true value to be recognized and their character and 
meaning to be completely discerned. 

Among creative artists the composer is almost the 
only one depending upon a host of intermediaries be- 
tween him and the public — intermediaries who may be 
intelligent or stupid, friendly or hostile, diligent or 
negligent. It is in their power either to carry his work on 
to brilliant success or to disfigure, debase and even des- 
troy it. 

Singers are often considered the most dangerous of 
these intermediaries; I believe that this is not true. In 
my opinion, the conductor is the one whom the composer 
has most to fear. A bad singer can spoil only his own 
part, but the incapable or malevolent conductor can ruin 
everything. A composer must consider himself happy if 
his work has not fallen into the hands of a conductor 
who is both incapable and hostile ; for nothing can resist 
the pernicious influence of such a person. The most ex- 
cellent orchestra becomes paralyzed, the best singers 
feel cramped and fettered, all energy and unity are lost. 
Under such direction the noblest and boldest inspira- 
tions can appear ridiculous, enthusiasm can be violently 
brought down to earth ; the angel is robbed of his wings, 
the genius is transformed into an eccentric or a simple- 
ton, the divine statue is plunged from its pedestal and 
iu the mud. Worst of all, when new works are 
performed for the first time, the public and even listen- 
ers endowed with the highest musical intelligence are 
unable to recognize the ravages perpetrated by the stu- 
pidities, blunders and other offenses of the conductor. 

For all the obvious shortcomings of a performance 
the conductor is not blamed; his victims shoulder the 
burden. If he misses the entry of the chorus in a finale, 
if he causes a wavering between the chorus and orches- 
tra or between distant groups in the orchestra, if he 
drags or rushes the tempo, if he interrupts a singer be- 
fore^ the end of a phrase, people say: “The chorus is 
terrible, the orchestra lacks assurance, the violins have 
spoiled the melodic line ; nobody has vigor and fire, 
the tenor h^ made mistakes, he does not know his part; 
the harmonies are confused ; the composer does not know 
how to write accompaniments for singers, etc., etc.” 

Only when he is listening to familiar and recognized 
masterworks can the intelligent listener distinguish the 
real culprit and do justice to the other partners in the 
performance. However, the number of such listeners is 
still so sm^l that their opinion carries but little weight. 
Thus, the incapable conductor maintains himself witli 
all the calm of a bad cfonscience In the presence of a 
public that would hiss an excellent singer pitilesslv at 
the slightest Vocal mishap. 

Fortunately I am now speaking only of exceptions; 
capable or incapable conductors who are at the same time 
malevolent are very rare. 

The conductor who is willing but incapable, on the 
other i^d, is very common. There may be some donbt 
regarding the good faitii of the many mediocre conduc- 
tow who freqnently have to condnet artists far superior 

to themselves. But nobody will accuse an author of con- 
spiring against the success of his own work, and yet 
there are many composers who unknowingly ruin their 
best scores because they fancy themselves to be great 

Beethoven, it is said, more than once spoiled perform- 
ances of his symplionies, which* he liked to conduct even 
at the time when his deafness had become almost cem- 
plete. In order to keep together, the musicians finally 
agreed to follow the slight signs of the concertmaster 
and to ignore Beethoven’s baton. Moreover, it should be 
remembered that conducting a symphony, an overture 
or any other composition with extended movements 
which contain few changes and contrasts is child’s play 
in comparison with conducting opera and other works 
containing recitatives, arias, and numerous orchestral 
passages interspersed with irregular pauses. The ex- 
ample of Beethoven just cited shows that the direction 
of an orchestra, very difficult for a blind man, is entirely 
impossible for a deaf one, whatever may have been his 
technical skill before he lost his hearing. 

The conductor must tee and heats he must be resource- 
ful and energetic, he must know the nature and the 
range of the instruments and be able to read a score. 
Besides (the specific talent whose component qualities 
we are going to discuss he must have other, almost in- 
definable gifts, without which the invisible contact be- 
tween him and the performers cannot be established. 
Lacking -these, he cannot transmit his feelings to the 
players and has no dominating power or guiding influ- 
ence. He is no longer a director and leader, but simply 
a time-beater, provided he is able to beat and divide time 

The players must feel that he feels, understands and 
is moved; then his emotion communicates itself to those 
whom he conducts. His inner fire warms them, his ^en- 
thusiasm carries them away, he radiates musical energy. 
But if he is indifferent and cold, he paralyzes everything 
around him, like the icebergs floating in the polar sea, 
whose approach is announced by the sudden cooling of 
the atmosphere. 

The conductor’s task is very complex. He must not 
only be able to conduct a work with which tlie perform- 
ers are familiar, according to the intentions of the com- 
poser, but also, in the case of a new work, to make them 
acquainted with it. During the rehearsals he has to point 
out to each of the performers his mistakes and errors. 
He must be able to employ the resources at his dis- 
posal so as to secure tlie greatest result from them in the 
fifliortest time possible^ for, in most cities of Europe, 
musical art is in a sad plight. Musicians are poorly paid 
and the necessity of thorough study is so little undc'r 
stood that the economical utilization of time is one of 
the most imperative requisites of the conductor’s skill. 
— Let us now see what constitutes the mechanical as- 
pects of his art. 

While not requiring particularly outstanding musical 
qualities, the art of beating time is nevertheless rather 
diflicult to learn; very few people really possess it. The 
signs which the conductor makes are generally very 
simple, but they may occasionally become quite complica- 

ted by the divisions and subdivisions of the meter. The 
conductor must above all have a dear idea of the tnAfu 
features and the character of the work to be performed so 
that he can determine without hesitation and error the 
tempi planned hy the composer. Unless he had the oppor- 
tunity of receiving instructions directly from the compos* 
er or is familiar with the traditional t^pi, he must con- 
sult the metronomic indications and study them thorough- 
ly. Most modem composers mark compositions at the be- 
ginning and whenever there is a change of tempo. I do 
not mean to say by this that it is necessary to imitate the 
mathematical regularity of the metronome^ which would 
give the music thus executed an icy frigidity; I even 
doubt whether it would be possible to maintain this rigid 
uniformity for more than a few bars. The metronome 
is nevertheless an excellent medium for determining the 
initial tempo of a piece and its main alterations. 

If the conductor has neither the instructions of the 
composer nor traditional or metronomic tempo indica- 
tions — as is frequently the case with works written be- 
fore the invention of the metronome — ^be has no other 
guide than the customary, very vague tempo markings; 
for the rest he must rely on his own instinct and his 
feeling for the composer’s style. To be sure, it ocmnot be 
denied that these guides are frequently insufficient or 
misleading. This is proved by the manner in which older 
operas are given in towns where the tradition for these 
works has been lost. Out of 'ten different tempi at least 
f onr will be wrong. I once heard a chorus from 'Tphig^nie 
en Tauride” performed in a Carman theater ; instead of 
Allegro non itroppo in 4-4 time it was played Allegro 
assai in 2-2 time, i.e twice as fast. I could quote an 
immense number of similar mistakes caused either by 
the ignorance and negligence of the conductor, or by the 
fact that sometimes it is really very difficult even for 
the most talented and careful man to discover the exact 
meaning of tiie Italian tempo marks. Of course, nobody 
will faS to .distinguish a Largo from a Presto. If the 
Presto has two beats to a bar, an intelligent conductor, 
by examining the .passages and melodic designs contain- 
ed in the piece, will soon find the degree of speed 
intended by the author. But with a Largo in 4-4 time 
and of simple melodic design, what means has the un- 
fortunate conductor of discovering the correct tempo? 
The different degrees of slow movement that may be 
used for such a Largo are very numerous; only the 
individual feeling of l^e conductor can be the guide in 
such a case, although what matters most is the com- 
poser’s rather than the conductor s feelings. Therefore, 
composers ought not to neglect furnishing their works 
with metronomic indications, and it* is the conductors’ 
duty to study them closdLy. To ne^^ect this study is 
equal to an act of dishonesty toward the composer. 

We now assume that the conductor is thoroughly 
familiar with the tempi of the work to be performed or 
rehearsed. His next task is to impart the rhythmic 
feeling within Tii™ to the orchestral players, to deter- 
mine the duration of each bar and to make all partici- 
pants observe this duration uniformly. This precise 
and uniform collaboration of a more or less large or- 
chestral or choral body can be attained only by means 
of certain signs given by the conductor. 

These signs indicate the main divisions — the heats 
of each bar, *tid frequently also the subdivisions — the 
kdlf heats. It is not beoessary to explain the difference 
between the strong and weak beats; I assume that I 
am writing for musicians. 

The orchestral conductor generally uses a small light 
stick, about 20 inches long (better white than of dark 
color, for the sake of visibility). He holds it in his 
right hand and distinctly marics with it the beginning, 
the divisions and the close of each bar. Some concert- 
masters use the violin bow for conducting, but it is 
less suitable than the baton. The bow is somewhat 
flexible; this lack of rigidity and the greater resistance 
it offers to the air because of the hair Tnftki* its move- 
ments less precise. 

The simplest of all meters — in a bar— is indicat- 
ed very simply. After raising the baton so that th'e hand 
is on a level with his head, the conductor marks the 
first beat by dropping the point of the baton perpendi- 
cularly (as far as possible by bending the wrist and 
not by moving the entire arm) and the second beat, in 
the opposite way, by raising it again; 



The meter with one beat in a bar is, especially from 
the conductor’s point of view, the same as a meter with 
two beats in a very rapid tempo; therefore, it is indi- 
cated like the preceding. The necessity of raising the 
point again after lowering it divides the movement in 
two anyway. 

With four beats in the bar, it is enstomary to mark 
the first strong beat (the beginning of the bar) by a 
downward movement. The second movement of the 
baton diagonally upward from right to left marks the 
second (the first weak) beat. The third, horizontally 
from left to right marks the third ‘(the second strong) 
heat and a fourth movement diagonally upward marks 
the fourth (the second weak) beat. These four move- 
ments result in this figure: 



It is important that the conductor uses his arm as 
little as possible for these movements and consequently 
does not let the baton cover too much space; for eai^ 
movement must be almost instantaneous or, at least, 
should occupy a moment so short as to be practically 
incommensurable. If the time interval becomes aj^reci- 
able, rt causes — since it is repeated many times — a re- 
tardation of the intended tempo and a vety unpleasant 
heaviness in the orchestral performance. Mor^ver, tiiis 
mistake has the result of needlessly tiring the conductor . 
and of producing exaggerated; almost ridicalous move- 
ments of the body, which distract the attention of the 

In a bar with three beats, the first downward move- 
ment is customary for marking the first beat; but there 
are two ways of maxking the second. Most eonductorz 
beat from left to ri|^t: 



some German conductors, however, do the contrary and 
carry the baton from right to left: 


If the conductor has his back turned to ttie orchestra, 
as is customary in theaters, the latter method has a dis- 
advantage in that only few players can see this very 
important marking of the second beat since the body of 
the conductor hides the movement of his arm. The other 
method is better because the second movement is out- 
wards and the baton therefore remains perfectly visible 
to everybody, especially if the conductor raises it slightly 
above the levd of his shoulders. If the conductor faces 
the orchestra, it is immaterial whether he makes the 
second movemexit to the right or to the left. The third 
beat is indicated in all cases by a diagonal, upward 
movement, like the last beat in 4-4 time: 

Tile meters with five and seven beats in a bar are not 
indicated by special series of gestures, but are treated 
as eomhinations of simple meters; the five beats as oon- 
tiiating of three and two beats, and the seven as four and 
three. They are therefore marked as follows: 



T%ese divisions of the various meters are suited for 
moderate tempi However, if the tempo is very fast ok 
very slow, this method would be inadequate. As we have 
alreatdy seen, two beats in a bar can marked only as 
shown above, however fast the tempo. On the other hand. 

if the tempo is exceptionally slow, the conductor has to 
subdivide each beat. A very rapid four in a bar should 
be marked by only two movements, since the four move- 
ments as used in moderate tempo would follow each 
other so rapidly that the eye could not follow them 
clearly ; the players would be irritated rather than made 
secure. Moreover, and this is even more important, the 
conductor checks the rhythmic flow by the unnecessary 
four motions and loses all freedom of movement which 
he would retain with the simple division of the bar into 
two halves. 

In such cases it is usually wrong for composers to 
indicate a 4-4 meter. When tempo is very fast, they 
should always use the time signature 0 and not C > 
which is misleading. 

Triple time, i.e. rapid % and % meter, is treated 
similarly. The conductor does not mark the second beat, 
bolding the first gesture for two periods and raising his 
baton only on the third beat; 



It would be ridiculous to mark cdl three beats in a 
Beethoven Scherxo. 

If the tempo is very slow, each beat must be sub- 
divided; consequently, quadruple time is marked by eight 
movements, triple time by six movements, by repeating 
each of the previously indicated main movements in 
abbreviated form; 

Very slow . 
quadruple meter * 


Very slow 
triple meter 

The arm should not take part in' the short supple- 
mentary gestures marking the subdivisions of the bar; 
these are carried out by the wrist alone. 

The purpose of this subdivision of the beats is to pre- 
vent rhythmic divergences which could easily arise in the 
orchestra during the intervals between two beats. If the 
conductor gives no sign at all during this long interval 
(whidi is unusually extended because of the slow 
tempo), the orchestra is left to itself for too long a time. 
Since not all players have the same rhythmic feeliog, 
some will rush while others drag behind, and the en- 
semble will soon be destroyed. T%ie only exception from 
this rule is a first-rate orchestra composed of virtuosos 
knowing each other very well and accustomed to play 
together, and who know the work to be performed 
almost by heart. Even then the cardessness of a single 



piftjer may cause a ndshap; why i^ur such a risk? I 
know that it hurts the vanity of some artists to be thus 
kept in kading-strixigs (like children^ as they say) ; but 
witili a conductor whose main aim is the excellence of the 
performance such considerations should have no weight. 
Even ini a quartet the individual feeling of the players 
can rarely be allowed to follow its own paths. In a sym- 
phony the conductor's conception alone must rule. The 
quality of the performance depends on his conception 
and on the art of realizing it; the feelings of the in- 
dividual players must never make themselves manifest 
Once this is clearly understood it becomes obvious 
that in very slow compound meters (such as 6/4^ 6/8, 
8/d, 12/8 etc.) the subdivision! is even more important. 
These meters with triple time can be divided in various 
ways. If the tempo is rapid or moderate, only the simple 
beats are indicated according to the procedure adopted 
for the analogous simple meters. Hence, a 6/8 Allegretto 
or 6/4 Allegro requires a beat similar to duple meters 
( ([} or 2 or 2/4); 9/8 Allegro — ^like 8/4 Moderate or 
8/8 Andantino; 12/8 Moderate or Allegro — ^like 4/4. But 
if the tempo is Adagio, Largo assai or Andante maestoso, 
all eighths-notes (or a quarter followed by an eighth- 
note) require beats, according to the form of the melody 
or the predominant figuration. 

In this triple meter it is unnecessary to mark all 
eighth-notes; the rhythm of a quarter plus an eighth- 
note to a beat is sufficient. One uses the little supple- 
mentary gestures indicated for subdivisions of simple 
meters, dividing each beat, however, into two unequal 
parts l^cause it is necessary to mark the value of the 
quarter as well as of the eighth-note. 

If the tempo is still slower, all eighth-notes require 
beats regardless of the meter; only thus can uncer- 
tainty be avoided and complete mastery assured. 

With the indicated tempi, the conductor will beat in 
the 6/8 meter three eighths to each time unit, Le. three 
beats down and three beats up: 

in the 9/8 : three down, three to the right, three up: 

in the 12/8: three down, three to the left, three to the 
right, three up: 

Sometimes a difficulty arises if certain voices in a 
score are given a triple rhythm for the sake of contrast, 
while the others continne in duple rhythm: 


Wind instruments 


If the players of the wind instruments are very musical, 
there will be no need to dbange the manner of marking the 
bar and the conductor can continue to beat six or simply 
two. The majority of players, however, usually become 
uncertain when the syncopation begins ax^d 'the triple 
rhythm clashes with the duple; they need assistance, 
which can be given to them in the following manner. 
The uncertainty in a group of performers caused by the 
sudden entry in a group of performers caused by the 
sudden entry of this unexpected rhythm confiicting with 
that of the rest of the ordhestra always makes them locdc 
instinctively at the conductor, as if seeking his assistance. 
He should also look at them, turning a little toward 
them and marking the triple rhythm by small movements 
of his hand (as if this were the real meter) ; but this 
must be done in such a fashion tiukt the violins and 
other instruments continuing the duple rhythm cannot 
see the altered beat, which would olherwise confound 
them completely. Thus, the new triple rhythm, being 
marked furtively by the coxkductor, is executed with as- 
surance, while the duple rhythm, already firmly estab- 
lished, continues without difficulty although no longer 
indicated by tibe conductor. 

On the other hand, in my opinion nothing is more 
objectionable and contraiT’ to good musical sense than 
the application of this method where not two different 
and contrasting rhythms dash, but where simple synco- 
pation is intrcduced. If the condnetor divides the bar 
according to the number of accents in it, he destroys the 
effect of the syncopation for all listeners who sec him, 
substituting an ordinary change of time for a rhythm of 
stimulating charm. Such is the case in, the following 
passage from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony if the 
conductor marks the accents instead of the beats:. 


T f f ll! 



by making six movements to a bar, as indicated above 
the iM>tes, instead of tiie four previously maintained; 
only the latter enable the listener to recogniae and 
feel the syncopation clearly: 


f 'fAT 

This voluntary submission to a rhyt hm ica l form which 
the composer actually intended to be resisted is one 
of the gravest stylistic mistakes a conductor can make. 

Another difficuliy, extremely troublesome to the con- 
ductor and re<|^airing all his presence of mind, is caused 
by the combination of different meters. It is easy to con- 
duct a duple meter, each of whose beats is subdivided 
in two, together with a superimposed duple meter whose 
beats are divided in three, if both have the same tempo. 
Their bars have the same dnra^tion and it is only neces- 
sary to divide them in half and to mark the two princi- 
pal accents: 


this new tempo the corresponding, short bar (either to 
facilitate the execution of the fast tempo or because it 
could not be written otherwise), two or even three of 
these short bars may then coincide with one bar of the 
slow movement: 


It is the cemdnetor’s task to hold these unequal bars 
together. He will attain this in the quoted example by 
beginning to subdivide the beats fzom bar No. 1 of the 
Andante, whidi precedes the entrance of the Allegro 
6/8, and then by oootinning this division, perhaps 

even more markedly. The players of the AUegro 6/8 will 
understand that the two gestures represent the two 
beats of 'their short bar, while the players of the Andante 
take these same gestures merely for a divided beat of 
their long bar. 

One sees, this is really quite simple because the 
divisions of the short bar coincide with the subdivisions 
of the long bar. The following example, however, ki 
which .a slow bar is superimposed over two short ones, 
but without this coincidence, offers greater difficulties; 




Allegretto, Twice as slow 

Here the three bars of the Allegro assai preceding 
the Allegretto are conducted as usual, two to a bar. 
When tlm Allegretto begins, the conductor marks two 
dmded beats for the long bar with two (unequal) move- 
ments down and two up: 



The two large movements of the conductor divide the 
long bar in half and indicate its value to the oboes 
without confusing the violas, who maintain their fast 
movement supported by the shorter, subsidiary gestures 
dividing the short bar in half. From bar 8 on, the 
conductor ceases to divide the long bar in four because 
of the triple rhythm of the 6/8 melody entering here, 
with which thiaf gesture would interfere. He confines 
himself to marking the two beats of the long bar. The 
violas, already accustomed to their fast rhythm, continue 
it without di&ulty knowing that each movement of the 
baton marks the beginning of their short bar. 

The preceding shows that subdividing a beat must 
be avoided if a part of the instruments or voices execute 
triplets on this beat. Such a division cutting through 
the second note of the triplet would make its execution 
insecure or actually impossible. The division should be 
avoided even a short time before the start of a triple 
rhythm or of a melody in triplets in order not to give 
the performers the feeling of a rhythm contrary to the 
one they are to execute. 


In this example it is advisable to divide the entire 
bar No. 1 in six, i.e. to' subdivide each beat in two car- 
rying out the following movements: 

With the beginning of bar No. 2 it is necessary to omit 
the subdivision and to carry out only the simple move- 
ments : 


Once brought togethei;, the two Allegros — ^the small 
one in 8/8 whose whole bar is a third (i.e. one beat) of 
the minuet bar, and the other in 2/4, whose bar is two 
thirds (i.e. two beats) of the minuet bar — ^fit together as 
well as with the main theme and proceed together with- 
out the slightest difficulty. The main thing is to make 
them enter correctly. 

A gross fault that 1 have seen committed consists in 
slowing up the tempo of a piece in duple meter when 
triplets in half-notes occur: 

The third note adds nothing to the duration of the bar, 
as some conductors seem to imagine. They may mark 
such passages with three beats if the tempo is slow or 
moderate, but the duration of the whole bar must remain 
exactly the same. If triplets occur in a very short bar in 
duple meter (Allegro assai), three beats would cause 
confusion. Only two should xnarked — one down on the 
first note, the other up on the third. Owing to the quick- 
ness of the movement the two beats differ little from 
those of the bar with two equal beats and do not affect 
the execution of the parts continuing in duple meter. 

Allegro assai. 

We shall now consider the method of conducting 
recitatives. Here the singer or instrumentalist is not 
confined to the regular divisions of the bar. The con- 
ductor must therefore follow their recitation atten- 
tively and must see to it that the chords and other 
instrumental passages inserted in the recitative are 
executed precisely and uniformly by the orchestra. 
If the recitative is accompanied by sustained notes or a 
tremolo in several voices and the harmony changes^ he 
must indicate the change at the proper moment; some- 
times the least conspicuous of the voices is the one whose 
progression changes the harmony and on which the 
conductor must therefore concentrate his attention. 

because of the triplets entering on the third beat, which 
would be imped^ by the double movement. In 
famous hall scene in Mozart's ^'Don Giovanni”, where 
three orchestras in three different meters are combined, 
the difficulty of holding them together is not as great as 
might be assumed. It is sufficient to mark each beat of 
the Tempo di menuetto by a downward movement: 

Free meter 




In this example the conductor, while following the 
reciting, metrically free part, must also watch above all 
the viola part and make it move from F to £ at the 
correct moment at the beginning of the second bar. 
Since this part is executed by several players, some 
might hold the F longer than others and thereby cause 
a momentary dissonance* 



Many conductors have the habit of completdiy dis- 
regarding the written divisions of the bar when con- 
ducting recitative; they mark an np-beat on a heavy 
beat if it precedes a short diord of the orchestra^ even 
if this chord comes on a weak beat: 



In a passage such as this they raise the baton on the 
qnarter-rest at the beginning of the bar and lower it on 
the second beat to mark the entry of the chord. I cannot^ 
approve this absolutely m^nstifiable method; it may fre- 
quently cause mishaps in the execution. I cannot see why 
in recitatives the bar shonld not be divided regularly 
and the real beats be marked in their proper place as in 
music played strictly according to meter. I therefore re- 
commend wtArlring t^ first beat in the preceding example 
with a downward motion^ as usualj and to move the 
baton to the left with the entry of the chord on the 
second beat; and accordingly in other, similar cases, 
always dividing the bar regularly. It is also very im- 
portant to divide it accordi^ to the tempo previously 
indicated by the composer; if it is an Allegro or Maestoso 
a nil the reciting voice has sung for some tune without 
oue must not forget when die orchestra 
' re-enters to g^ve each beat its proper value in an Allegro 
or Maestoso. If the ordiestra plays by itself, it usually 
does so in strict time; it plays in irregular meter only 
when accompanying a reciting voice or instrument. In the 
exceptional case where the orchestra or chorus itself or 
part of them have to execute a recitative and where it 
is thus essential to keep a certain number of performers 
(in unison mr in several parts) uniformly together 
althou^ not in strict time, the conductor himself becomes 
the real reciter, giving to each bar the duration he con- 
siders to be correct According to the form of the phrase, 
he sometiiiies marks the beats, sametimes the sub- 
divisions, sometimes the accents, sometimes the sixteenth- 
notes; in short, he designs with his baton the melodic 
form of the recitative. Of coarse the performers most 
know their music almost heart and keep their eyes con- 
stantly on him; otherwise, no secnrity or precision is 

Even with music in strict time, the conductor must 
generally insist that the players look at him as often as 
possible. An orchestra which dikes not watch the condnc- 
icr^s baton has no conductor. For instance, frequently 
after a pause the conductor is forced to wait before 
yiMtrkiiig the re-entry of the orchestra until he sees the 
eyes of all performers fixed upon him. It is his task to 
accustom them during rehearsals to look at him simul- 
taneously in all decisive moments. 


Since in tiie preceding example the first note is in- 
definitely prolmiged by the pause, the notes following it 
eaimot k exeeutod wHb the necessary verve and pre- 
cision if this rule is dmregarded; for wtthout looking at 
tk baton tlie performers eamiet know when the conduc- 

tor proceeds to the second beat and resumes the tempo 
momentarily suspended by the pause. 

The obligation on the part of the performers to look 
at the coi^uctor implies an equal obligation on his 
part to himsdf visible to all of them. Whatever 

toe arrangement of toe orchestra may be, whether on 
steps or on a horisontal plane, toe conductor must select 
his place so that he can be seen by everybody. The 
greater the number of performers and the larger the 
space occupied by them, the higher must be his place. 
His desk shonld not be too high lest the board carrying 
toe score hide his face. For his facial expression has 
much to do with the influence he exercises. If a con- 
ductor practically does not exist for an orchestra unable 
or unwilling to look at him, he exists just as little for one 
unable to see him completely. 

Noises caused by striking toe desk with the stick or 
by stamping feet are to be banned completely; they are 
not only inexpedient, they are crude. Only if the chorus 
is unable to see the baton because of some stage action, 
toe conductor is forced — for the sake of a secure entry 
by toe chorus — to mark toe beat preceding toe entry by 
a slight tap of his baton on the desk. This is the only 
exception warranting the employment of an audible 
signal in conducting; even then the necessity of using 
it is to be regretted 

While speaking of choral singers and their operations 
on the stage we may mention that chorus masters often 
allow themselves to beat time backstage without being 
able to see the conductor's baton or even to hear the or- 
chestra. Hence this arbitrary time, beaten more or le$8 
badly, cannot correspond wito that of the conductor and 
causes a rhythmic discrepancy between the chorus and 
the orchestra; instead of aiding cooperation it impedes 

There is another traditional barbarism which every 
Intelligent and energetic conductor should abcfiish. For 
choral or instrumental pieces which are to be executed 
behind the scenes, sometimes without participation of 
the main orchestra, a second conductor is indispensable. 
If the main ordiestra accompanies this group, the first 
conductor, who hears this music from the distance, is 
strictly bound to let hiniself be guided by the second 
conductor and to follow his lead by ear. But if — as fre- 
quently happens in modem music — ^the full sound of the 
large orchestra prevents him from hearing the badi- 
stage mnsic, toe application of a special mechanism 
transmitting the meter becomes necessary to establish 
an instantaneous communication between the conductor 
and the distant performers. For this purpose a number 
of more or less ingenious experiments have been carried 
out, whose results have not always met expectations. Only 
the electric metronome set up by Verbrugghe in toe 
Brussels theater leaves nothing to be desired. It consists 
of copper wires attadied to a voltaic pile placed beneath 
toe stage; these wires connect the co^uctor’s desk with 
a movable baton attadied by a pivot in front of a board 
which is placed at any desired distance from the con- 
dnetor. The desk is famished with a copper key similar 
to a piano key, whidi has at its bottom a pro- 

tnberance of about a quarter of an inch. Immediately 
under this protoberance is a little copper cap filled with 
quicksilver. When the conductor wants to mark a beat, 
he presses the copper key with the forefinger of his left 
hand (his right hajad holds the baton, as nsoal), where- 
by toe protcdieraiioe m akes contact with the qulclc- 


silver. The electrical connection thus effected nbkes the 
baton at the other end of the wires oscillate. The 
electrical contact and the movement of the baton take 
place simultaneously, regardless of the distance. The* 
mnsicihns behind the scenes watching the electric baton 
are thus practically under the immediate direction of the 
conductor, who might, if it were necessary, conduct 
from the middle of the Op£ra orchestra in Paris a per- 
formance taking place in Versailles. It is only neces- 
sary to agree beforehand with the chorus singers or 
with their conductor (if there is one, as an additional 
precaution) on the manner of beating the time: whether 
the conductor is to mark all main beats or only the 
firat beat in each bar. For the oscillations of the electric 
baton, taking place in only one direction, give no pre- 
cise indication in this respect. 

When I first used this valuable instrument in Brussels, 
its action disclosed one shortcoming. Bvery time the cop- 
per key was pressed down it touched another copper plate 
and, however soft the contact, there was a short noise 
which attracted the attention of the audience during 
the pauses of the orchestra, to the detriment of the musi- 
cal effect. I pointed out the defect to M. Verbrugghe, 
who substituted for the copper plate the cup with quick- 
silver previously mentioned. The protuberance of the key 
enters into it without any disturbing noise. Only the 
electric spark emitted during the use of the instrument 
is still noticeable, but its crackling is so weak that the 
audience does not hear it The insinuation of the metro- 
nome is not expensive. Large opera houses, churches and 
concert halls should have been provided with it long 
ago. Yet it is nowhere to be found except at the Brussels 
theater. This might appear unbelievable if the care- 
lessness of many theater managers, to whom music is 
only a means toward an end, were not weU known. We 
arc only too well acquainted with their instinctive aver- 
sion to whatever is off the beaten track, with their 
indifference to the interests of art, their parsimony 
where an expenditure for the best of music is needed, 
nwd with the ignorance of the basic principles of our art 
iwyinny those iu whosc h a nd s its fate rests. 

Not all has been said as yet about those dangerous 
auxiliaries called chorus masters. Very few among them 
are reaUy able to direct a musical performance so that 
the conductor can rely upon them. He m^t therefore 
supervise them closely when he needs their participa- 
tion. Most to be dreaded are those whom high age has 
deprived of their energy and skilL The maintenai^ of 
any somewhat rapid tempo is impossible to them. How- 
ever fast the initial tempo of a piece entrusted to their 
direction, little hy little they slacken its pace until they 
have reached a certain degree of moderate slowness 
whkfii corresponds with the blood circulation of their 
organism. It must be added, however, that old 
men are not the only ones with whom composers run 
this risk. There are men in the prime of life, but with a 
sluggish temperament, whose blood seems to circulate 
m^rato. If they have to conduct an Allegro assai, 
they gradually let it become a Moderate; if on the con- 
trary, it is a Largo or Andante sostenuto of some length, 
they wiU have accelerated to a Moderate long be- 
fore the end has been reached. Moderate is their natural 
pace, and they return to it as infallibly as a pendulum 
whose oscillations have been accelerated or retarded for 
a moment These people are the bom enemies of ^ 
characteristic music and the greatest destroyers of style. 

May orchestral conductors shun their cooperation at any 

^ Once^ in a large town which I will not name, a very 
simple chorus in ’6/8 Allegretto was to be performed be- 
hind the scenes. The assistance of the chorus master was 
needed ; and he was an old man. The tempo of the chorus 
was determined by that of the preceding orchestral intro- 
duction, and our Nestor followed it quite nicely during 
the first few bars ; but soon he became so slow that it was 
impossible to continue without making a farce of the 
piece. It was started over ag^ain two, three, four times; 
half an hour was spent in increasingly irritating efforts, 
but always with the same result. The good simply 
could not maintain an Allegretto. At last the orch^tr^ 
conductor, out of all patience, asked hfm not to conduct 
any more, and made the chorus singers simulate a march 
movement by raising their feet altematingly without 
moving from the place. This tempo corresponded exactly 
with the duple meter of the 6/8 Allegretto, and the 
singers, no longer hampered by their director, exe- 
cute the piece correctly and without any slackening, 
as if they were singing on the march. 

Nevertheless, I admit that some chorus masters or 
assistant conductors are really useful and even indispen- 
sable for the maintenance of unity among great masses 
of performers if it is absolutely necessary to place them 
so that a part of the instrumentalists or singers tom 
their backs on the conductor. He then needs a certaii 
number of assistants placed in front of those per- 
formers who cannot see him to transmit his tempo 
indications to them. In order that this transmission 4s 
absolutely precise the assistant conductors must not 
take their eyes off the main conductor's baton for one 
moment. Should they cease to watch him for as little as 
three bars, to look at the score, there will unmediately 
be a discrepancy between their tempo and his, atod all 
will be lost. 

At a music festival in Paris where 1200 performers 
were assembled under my direction, I employed five 
chorus conductors for the singers and two assistant con- 
ductors for the orchestra (one for the wind and one for 
the percussion instruments). I had urged them to look at 
me incessantly. They did not fail to do so, and our eight 
batons, rising and falling without the slightest rhythmic 
discrepancy, achieved a unity among the 1800 partici- 
pants of a perfection never before experienced. With 
one or more electric metronomes this expedient will 
probably be no longer necessary. In fact, one can thus 
easily conduct a chorus placed with the back toward 
the conductor; but attentive and intelligent assistants 
are always preferable to a madhine. 

They must not only beat the time tike a metronome, 
but they must also speak to the groups near them, 
drawing their attention to various sliadings and giving 
them the cue for their re-entzy after a rest. In a space 
arranged as a semicircular amphitheater the conductor 
alone can direct a considerable number of performers, 
since all participants can lodk toward him. 1 should 
nevertheless prefer to .employ a number of assistant 
conductors, because of the great distance between the 
chief conductor and the performers placed at the extreme 
ends. The greater this distance, the smaller the conduc- 
tor's influence upon the performers. It would be best to 
have several assistant condnetors and several electric 
metronomes besides, marking tiie main beats of the bar 
before tiicir eyes. 


We now come to ithe question whether the conductor 
should stand or sit. In theaters^, where works of tre- 
mendous length are perfomed, it is rather difficult for 
the conductor to endure the fatigue caused by standing 
•the entire evening. On the other hand, it is obvious that 
the conductor loses part of his power by being seated, 
and that he cannot give free course to his temperament 
(if he has any).' 

Furthermore, should he conduct from the full score 
or from the first-violin part, as is customary in some 
theaters? He should doubtless use the full score. Con- 
ducting from a single part containing only the principal 
instrumental cues, the melody and the bass requires a 
needless effort of memory on the part of the conductor. 
Moreover, if he tells one of the performers whose part 
he does not have before him that he has made a mistake, 
he exposes himsdf (to the risk of being answered: “what 
do yon know about this?" 

Placing and arranging the players and singers, espe- 
cially for concerts, is also among the duties of the con- 
ductor. It is impossible to state categorically the best 
.manner of grouping the performers in a theater or 
concert hall. Much depends on the size and shape of 
the particular place; the number of participants and 
sometimes the style of the composition to be performed 
must also be considered. 

An amphitheater of eight or at least -ffve different 
levels is generally indispensable for concerts. The semi- 
circular form is best for the amphitheater. If the space 
is large enough to take in the entire ordiestra, the in- 
strumentalists will be arranged on the steps as follows: 
the first violins in front on the right, the second violins 
on the left, the violas in the middle between the two 
violin groups; the flutes, oboes, clarinets, horns, and 
bassoons behind the first violins; two rows of violon- 
cellos and double-basses behind the wood-wind instru- 
ments; the harps in front, near the conductor; the 
kettledrums and other percussion instruments behind 
the brass; the conductor, his back toward the public, 
at the base of the amphitheater, near the front desks 
of the violins. 

There should be a plane, more or less wide space in 
front of the first step of the amphitheater. Here the 
chorus singers are arranged in the form of a fan, their 
faces turned three-quarters toward the public so that they 
can comfortably watch the conductor. The grouping of 
the singers by voices varies according to the number of 
voices employed in a given work. In any case, the 
sopranos and the altos should take the front rows, 
seated; the tenors stand behind the sopranos and the 
basses behind the altos. 

The soloists (singers as well as instrumentalists) oc* 
cnpy the center of the front space and should place 
themselves so that they can always see the conductor’s 
baton by slightiy turning their heads. 

These indiieations, I repeat, are only approximate; 
they may be modified in many Afferent ways, for various 

In the Paris Conservatoire, .where the amphitheater 
has only four or five steps (not forming a semicircle), 
the violins and the violas are on the stage, and oxdy the 
basses and wind instruments occupy, the steps; the 
chorus is seated in the frmit of the stage, looking toward 
the audience. All the si^rmnos and altos are nnable to 
see the movements of fie conductor, since their backs 
are turned direcily hiirard him. The arrangement is 
very inconveiiieiit for this part of the choms. 

It is always of the greatest importance that the chorus 
singers placed in front of the stage shall be lower than 
the violins, since they would otherwise greatly impair 
their sonority. If there are no additional steps for the 
chorus in front of the orchestra, it is necessary for the 
same reason that the women be seated and the men remain 
standing, so that the tenor and bass voices, issuing from 
a higher point than the sopranos and altos, can spread 
freely and are neither stifled nor intercepted. 

As soon as the presence of the choms in front of the 
orchestra is no longer necessary, the conductor ahould 
send them away, since this large number of human 
bodies diminishes the sonority of the instraments. The 
performance of a symphony would lose much if the 
orchestra were thus muffled. 

There are some additional precautions concerning the 
orchestra which the conductor must observe to avoid 
certain defects in performance. The percussion instru- 
ments, placed on one of the last and highest rows of the 
amphitheater, have a tendency to drag the tempo. A 
series of strokes on the bass drum at regular intervals in 
a fast tempo, such as these: 

Allejgro. ^ 

will sometimes lead to the complete destruction of a 
fine rhythmic climax by checking the flow of the orchestra 
and ruining its unity. The dmx^er almost always gives 
the first stroke a little too late because he does not 
observe the conductor’s first beat. This delay increases 
with each succeeding stroke and must eventually lead 
to a rhythmic discrepancy of fatal effect. The conductor 
will vainly try to restore unity in such a case. All he can 
do is to require the drummer to memorize the number of 
strokes in the passage and, instead of looking at his 
part, to watch the conductor’s baton closely. 

A similar retardation, bnt from different causes, 
frequently occurs in the trumpet part when it contains 
rapid passages such as the following: 

. Allegro. 

jfH>Lrr£j-lr.f.riiil i I 

The trumpeter, instead of taking breath before the 
beginning of the first bar, does so only during the 
eighth-rest. Not counting the time required for breathing 
he gives the rest its full value, thereby 'prolonging 
the first bar by an eighth. The resulting effect 

is all the worse because the final accent, struck by the 
rest of the orchestra on the first beat of the third bar, 
comes too late in the trumpets, thus destroying the unity 
of execution in the final (ffiori 

To prevent this, the conductor must point out in 
advance this inaccuracy to the players; for they are 
usually unaware of it. Then, while conducting, he must 
look at them at the decisive moment and give them, a 
little ahead of time, the first beat of tibe bar In whicffi 
they have to enter. It is incredible how difficult it is to 
prevent the trumpeters from doubling sm^ an elghtb- 



Where the composer has indicated an extended acceler- 
mndo poco a poco to pass from an Allegro moderate to a 
Presto, most conductors accelerate the tempo by jerks 
instead of enlivening it by a gradual and unnoticeable 
increase of speed. This mistake should be carefully 
avoided. This applies equally in the opposite instance; 
the smooth transition from a fast to a slow tempo is 
even more difficult. 

Often a conductor demands from his musicians a certain 
exaggeration of the nuances indicated by the composer, . 
either from a lack of delicate musical feeling or from a 
desire to give emphatic proof of his zeal. He does not 
understand the character and style of the work. The nu- 
ances become distortions, the accents turn into outcries. 
The intentions of the poor composer are completely dis- 
figured ; and those of the conductor, however honest they 
may be, are like the caresses of the ass in the fable, who 
killed Hs master by fondling him. 

We now turn to some bad habits which can be found in 
almost all European orchestras — ^habits which reduce 
composers to despair, and whose early elimination is the 
duty of conductors. 

Players of string instruments rarely take the trouble 
to produce a correct tremolo. They substitute for this 
very characteristic effect a mere repetition of notes, 
twice or even three times as slow as the real tremolo. 
Instead of sixty-fourth-notes they play thirty-second 
and even sixteenth-notes, i.e. instead of 64 notes to a 
bar (4-4, Adagio) they play only 82 or 16. The rapid 
motion of the arm necessary for the real tremolo is 
doubtless too great an effort for them. This laziness is 
intolerable ! 

Many double-bass players take the liberty of sim- 
plifying their part — either out of indolence or from 
fear of being unable to master certain difficulties. This 
system of simplification, generally accepted for the past 
forty years, can no longer be tolerated. The double- 
bass parts in older works are so simple that there'is no 
reason for weakening them even more. Those in modern 
works are more difficuit, it is true; but, with very few 
exceptions, there is nothing impracticable in them. 
Composers who are masters of their art always write 
these parts with the ^eatest care and exactly as they 
should be performed. If the players simplify things out 
of laziness, the energetic conductor has suffkuent 
authority to force them to do their duty; if they do it 
because of incompetence, he should dismiss them. It is in 
his own interest to rid himself of musicians who cannot 
play their instrument properly. 

The flutists,, accustomed to lead the other wind instru- 
ments and unwilling to play occasionally below the 
clarinets and oboes, frequently transpose entire passages 
to the higher octave. A conductor who does not read the 
score carefully and who does not know adequately the 
work to be performed, or one whose car ladu acuteness, 
will not notice the strange liberty thus taken by the 
flutists. Many more examples of this kind could be 
cited; such abuses should no longer be tolerated. 

It happens everywhere (I purposely do not say: in 
certain orchestras) that violinists, of whom usually ten, 
fifteen or twenty execute the same part, do not count 
the rests, but rely instead on the other players. The 
result is, of course, that scarcely half of them come in 
again at the right moment, while the others still hold 
their instrument under the left arm 'and stare in the air. 
The entry is thus weakened, if not entirely missed. I 

invoke the conductors’ full attention and severity against 
this intolerable habit. However, it is so deep-rooted that 
the conductor will only succeed in eradicating it by mak- 
ing a large number of players liable for the fault of a 
single player, e.g. by fii^g a whole row if one of them 
misses coming in correctly. The amount of the fine may 
be small, but I warrant that eadi violinist will count his 
rests and see to it that his neighbor does the same, since 
the fine can be inflicted on the same player five or six 
times in the course of one performance. 

An orchestra whose instruments are not in tune in- 
dividually and in relation to each other is a tonal mon- 
strosity. The conductor must therefore take great care 
that ^e musicians tune accurately. But this should 
not be done in the presence of the audience. Any kind of 
instrumental noise or of preluding during intermissions 
offends the ears of all refined listeners. One can im- 
mediately recognize the poor training and the musical 
mediocrity of an orchestra by this obnoxious noise made 
during the periods of quiet in an opera or concert. 

It is also the conductor’s duty to see to it that clari- 
netists do not always use the same instrument (usually 
the clarinet in B^) without regard to the author’s indi- 
cations, as if the different clarinets, especially those 
in A and D, did not have their own individual character, 
whose special value is well kown to the intelligent com- 
poser. Moreover, the clarinet in A reaches a semitone 

lower than the one in B^, namely 

toC# , 


is of excellent effect. This represents the actual sound 

of the written note £ 

in B^ produces D 

which on the clarinet 

Another habit, just as bad and even more dangerous, 
is found in many orchestras regarding the use of the 
valve horns. It consists in the execution as open tones 
(by means of the new mechanism) of those notes which 
are intended by the composer to be played as Hopped 
tones (by introducing the right hand into the bell of the 
horn). Furthermore, horn players now use almost ex- 
clusively the horn in F (because of the facility of play- 
ing it in different keys by means of the valves), regard- 
less of the key indicated by the composer. This habit 
causes a great many abuses, from which the conductor 
should preserve the works of composers who know how 
io mitt. As to the works of others, I must admit that 
there the damage is much less grave. 

Furthermore, the conductor must resist the parsi- 
monious custom, existing in certain theaters, of having 
the cymbals and the bass drum played by the same 
musiciaxi. The sound of these cymbals attached to the 
bass drum (the only way in which this economy is made 
possible) is only a vulgar noise fit for dan^ bands. 
Moreover, this custom leads mediocre composers into the 
habit of never using one of the two instruments alone 
and of considering it their sole purpose to stress the 
heavy beats very forcefully. This opinion caters to Ac 


predelection for vulgar noise and has brought upon us 
those ridiculous excesses which will sooner or later doom 
dramatic music unless a stop is put to them. 

Finally, 1 must express my regret concerning the 
generally poor organization of rehearsals. Everywhere 
the system of mass rehearsals is retained for large vocal 
or orchestral works. All chorus singers as well as all 
instrumentalists are rehearsed together. Deplorable er- 
rors, innumerable mistakes, especially in inner voices, 
are the natural consequence — errors which neither the 
cliorus master nor the orchestral conductor will notice. 
Once established, such errors grow into liabits and be- 
come part and parcel of the performance. 

The poor chorus singers receive the worst treatment 
of all with this type of rehearsal. They need an able 
director, who knows the correct tempi and is proficient 
in the art of singing, to beat^the time and make critical 
observations; furthermore, they require a good pianist, 
playing from a well-arranged piano score on a good 
piano; and finally a good violinist to play in unison 
or in the octave with the voices as they study each part 
individually. Instead of these three indispensable artists 
they are given — at two-thirds of the European opera 
houses — ^a single instructor, a man who usually knows as 
little of conducting as of singing, who has scarcely any 
musical education and who is selected from among the 
worst pianists to be found, or who perhaps cannot play 
the piano at all; a pitiable invalid who, sitting before 
a battered and untuned instrument, tries to decipher a 
confused score which he does not know, plays false 
chords (minor instead of major and vice versa) and — 

under the pretext of conducting and accompanying at 
the same time — teaches the singers a wrong rhytl^ with 
his right hand and a wrong intonation with his left one. 

One is carried back into the middle ages when he has 
to witness such an exhibition of barbarism for tile sake 
of economy. 

I firmly believe that a faithful, spirited and enthusi- 
astic performance of a modern work, even by outstand- 
ing artists, can be achieved only by sectional rehearsals. 
Each choral part must be studied individually until the 
necessary security is reached; only then should it be 
rehearsed together with the other parts. One should 
proceed in the same fashion in rehearsing symphonies, 
if they are at all complicated. First the violins should 
be rehearsed alone, then the violas and basses, then the 
wood- wind (with a small group of strings to ^ out the 
rests and to accustom the wind instruments to their 
cues); Hkewise the brass alone; sometimes it is even 
necessary to rehearse the percussion instruments by 
themselves; finally the harps — ^if they are numerous. 
The general rehearsals are then far more profitable and 
much faster, and one is assured of a fidelity of execution 
only too rare nowadays* 

The performances obtained by the old method of 
rehearsing are never more than approximatioxis of cor- 
rect interpretations. Yet the conductor puts down his 
baton, after ruining another masterpiece, with a smile 
of satisfaction. Should he, nevertheless, feel some slight 
doubt whether he has fulfilled his task satisfactorily — 
and who can verify whether he has? — ^he murmurs to 
himself: “What of it? Vae victis!” 



Drcken cymbals 

Dudelsack bagpipe 

Fagott bassoon 

Grosse Trommel bass drum 
Glocke bell 

Halbmond crescent 

Klappen-ITrompete keyed trumpet 
Kleine Plbte })iccolo 

Eontrabass (K.B.) 





Viola, Violen 

valve hom(s) 
side drum 


(Only those necessary for th£ understanding of the musical 
contents are listed. Phrases used repeatedly are included only 
once, at the place of their first occurrence). 


8 sehr longsam 

very slow 


129 Doppelgriff 

8 ein Vic. allcin 

1 ’cello alone 

134 eln wenig surfickbaltend 

fites Pult 

find desk 

allmShlich wieder in etwas 

10 sehr bestimmt 

very distinct 

bewegterem friiherem 

11 stttrmisch 



17 sehr lebhaft 

very lively 

135 mit sunehmendem Ansdrudc 

am Stege 

near the bridge 

148 hinter der Ssene 

mit DAmpfer 

con sordino 

186 Pauke I in B, F hoch (Zwei 

24 mfissig 



allznllhlich burner etwas 

gradually faster 

mit SdiwamnschlAgeln 


25 ohne Dfimpfer 

senxa sordino 

207 sehr gemAchllch 

215 fast wie niehts 

80 wirklicber Klang 

actual sound 

auf Ewel Saiten so sanft als 

leichter Finger 

finger touching 


fester Finger 

finger pressing 

228 die Btimme nacfaabmend 

89 massig langsam 

moderately slow 

289 bewegt 

auf dem Theater 

on the stage 

268 die 4 ersten 

41 sehr schnell 

very fast 

die 4 letzten 

56 immer langsamer 

more and more slowly 

269 das 5. Pult tritt hinsu 

58 sehr isart 

65 vier einselne Violinen 

very soft 

4 single violins 

276 siemlich bewegt 

s&mtllche Ubrigen Violinen 

all <»ther violins 

279 gedHmpft 

in vier gleich starken Partlen 

in 4 equal groups 

280 die Fennaten sehr lang und 

durch Flageolet hervonm- 

to be executed as harmonics 



71 1. allein 

Ist" (viola) alone 

immer stArker 

lustig und immer schneller 

die iibrigen 

the rest 

and schmettemder 

79 A (tief) 

88 miiSBig bewegt 

low A 

295 mdglichst sanft und gebun- 

324 nicht obligat 

bei den Trommeln aufka- 

84 sehr ausdrucksvoll 

8i5 sehr ruhig und nidit scfalep- 

with much expression 

very calm, not dragging 

sehr weich 

very soft 


etwas breit 

somewhat broad 

825 die Hatfte der sweiten 

92 lebhaft, doch nidit m 

animated, but not too fasc 




100 nur die 6 xwciten Vic. 

arco (with the bow) 
only the six 2nd.’oelli 

389 sehr gehalten 

340 trAg und sdileppend 

104 su8(ammen) 


872 diese grosse Trommel ist 

118 nur 4-saitige Kontrabfisse 

only 44tringed double-l>asses 

aufredit m stdlen, die 
« Wirbel sind mit swei 

118 allmShlich schwindend 

gradually fading 

sdir sSgcnid 

very hesitatingly 

PaiikensdilAg:e1n aussu- 

124 dieses Stttck wird dnrcbaus 
sehr leise gespielt und die 

this piece is to be played very 
softly throug^ut; the if 


875 mit xwei Kloppcln abwccb- 

•f und f mllssen nidit su 

and f must not be executed 

selnd von Jeder S(4te sn 

stark ausgedrfickt werden 

too strongly 


double stop 
poco rit 

gradually returning to the 
former, somewhat faster 

with increasing expression , 

kettledrum I in high Bb, F (2 

sticks with sponge he^ 
molto moderato 
almost inaudible 
on 2 strings, as soft as, pos- 

imitating the voice 

first 4 (doublr-basses) 
second 4 (double-basses 
fith desk enters 
rather fast 

very long and expressive 

moito crescendo 
gay. Increasingly fast and 

as soft and legato as possible 

ad libitum 

place with the drums 
half the find drums 

heavy and dragging 
this brass drum is to be plae- 
ed upri|^ roHs are to be 
executed with 2 dmmstlcb 

beat with 3 sticks altemat- 
ingly from both sides 


Ancient Cymbals, ft91 

Auber, D. F. E., La Muette de Portici, clarinet, 201; 
Ea. 80, 204; choms a capella, 853 

Bach, J. S., 1, 11, Brandenburg Concertos, high trum* 
pets), 220 — footnote; high horns, 280; Christmas 
Oratorio, oboe d'amore, 188; treatment of voices, 

Basset-Horn, 226 

Bassoon, doublixig basses, 80, 97; 189-197; notation, 
189; range, 189-190; trills, 190; character, 190-197; 
low tones, 225 
Tenoroon, 198 

Double-bassoon, doubling basses, 80, 97; as bass of 
wind instruments, 128; 198 

Beethoven, Ludwig tan, instrumentation, II ; treatment 
of voices, 858 

Fidelia, violas, 71; Ex. 1^8, 78; ’cello & bass. Ex. 48, 
124; oboe, 176; Ex. 68, 181; double-bassoon, 198; 
trombone, 828 ; kettledrum, 885 
Missa Soletnnis, solo violin, 58 ; voices, 858 
Piano Concerto in E^, pianoforte as orchestral instru- 
ment, Ex. 66, 154 

Srd Symphony, oboe, 176; Ex. 67, 179; stopped horns, 
249; Ex. 101, 250. 

4ih Symphony, pisxicato, Ex. 11, 84; oboe 176; kettle- 
drum, 880; Ex. 144» 

Sth Symphony, instrumentation, I; piasicato, 85; vio- 
lins & violas. Ex. 17, 58; violas & ’cellos. Ex. ^9, 
74; bassoon^ Ex. 78, IM; double-bassoon, 198; 
kettledrums, 880; Ex. 146, 882 
6th Symphony, double-bass. Ex. 46, 120; oboe, 176; 

Ex. 66, 177; piccolo. Ex. 98, 286 
7th Symphdny, oboe, 176; Ex. 66, 178; clarinet, 216; 
stopped boms, 249; Ex. 108, 254; trumpet' 288; 
Ex. 114, 284 

Sth Symphony, basses & kettledrums, 871 
9th Symphony, instrumentation, I; viola, 71; oboe, 
176; double-bassoon, 198; voices, 858 

Bells, 885-887 

BerziIoz, Hector, instrumentation, II 
Benvenuto CeUini, oboe, 178 
Le Cinq Mai, double-bass. Ex. 49, 129 
King Lear, Overture, pizsicato, Ex. 12, 86; oboe, Ex. 
61 4 62, 178 

Lilio, pianoforte as orchestral instrument, 158 ; Ex. 67, 
157; clarinet. Ex. 86, 214 

Requiem, ’celli and basses, 78; Ex. 81, 79; trombone, 
800; Ex. 119, 801 ; ketdedmm, 871 ; Ex. 148, 872; 
bass drum, 892 

Rcmfo et Julieite, violins, fingering, 20; harmonics, 
29; Ex. 8, 80; muted violins, Ex. 10, 88; violas, 
’cellos ft basses, Ex. 40, 95 
Symphonie Fanfasiique, oboe, 178 ; English horn, 185; 
Em. 70, 186 

Symphonie Funebre et Triomphale, trombone, Ex. 
129. 824 

Birch rod, 870 

Bizet, Georges^ Carmen, Ex. 116, 285 

Bombardon, 888 

Brahms, Johannes, instrumentation, II 

Bugle, 339-337; key bugle, 886; valve bugle, 887 

Celesta, 891 

Cellone, 74 

Charpbntier, Gustave, Louise, celesta, 891 

Clarinets, doubling basses, 97; 199-227; range ft nota- 
tion, 199; difficult & easy passages, 199-200; trills, 
200; clarinets in different keys, 201-206; registers, 
206-210; improvements, 226; mouthpieces, 226 
Alto Clarinet, 222 

Bass Clarinet, supplementing double-bass, 80, 97; 222- 
225; notation ft range, 222; character, 228-225; 
improvements, 227 
Basset-Horn, 226 

Double-bass clarinet, as bass of wind instruments, 
128; 226 

Concertina, 401-408 

Cornet, 292-297; range, 292-295; trills, 298; compari- 
son with horns ft trumpets, 298-294 ; different keys, 
295; character, 296-297 

Crescent, 899 

Cymbals, 892-895 

Debussy, Claude, Les Fetes, muted trumpets, Ex. 116, 

Double-bass, 98-132; tuning ft notation, 96-97; low C, 
97; bows, 97 ; reinforcing, 97; harmonics, 97; chords 
ft arpeggios, 97; tremolo, 97-112; character, 112- 
118; slides, 118-122; doubling low wind instru- 
ments, 128; combined with ’cellos, 124-128; division, 
129-181; pizzicato, 182 


Bass Drum, 891-892 
Side Drum, 897 
Tenor Drum, 897 

English Horn, see oboe 

Enharmonic relations, 401-408 

Flute, 227-235; range, 227; trills, 227-228; double- 
tougning and Flatterzunge, 228; character, 228- 
285 ; different keys, 242 ; flfite d’amour, 248 
Piccolo, 238-242; range, 286; character, 286-248 
Alto Flute, 248 

French Horn, reinforcing violins, 58; as bass, 80; 
247-280; character, 258-259; valve horns, range, 
259; character, 260-280; different keys, 270-880; 
comparison with cornets & trumpets, 298-894; doub- 
ling basses, 808 


Osyajcht, F. A.^ Treatise on Instrumentation, 1, 90 
Glass Harmonica, 891 
Glockenspiel, 888-890 
Gluck, Che. W. 

Alceste, tremolo snl ponticello, 12; Ex. 18; muted 
violins, Ex. 9, 82; clarinet, 216; flute, 280; Ex. 94, 
281; horn, 288; trombone, 808; Ex. 128, 807 
Armide, oboe, Ex. 60, 170; voices, 884; Ex. 137, 855 
Iphigenie en Aulide, viola, 68; oboe, Ex. 69, 167 
IphigSni^ en Tauride, viola, 60; Ex. 21, 61 ; oboe, 170; 
piccolo, 286; Ex, 99, 288; 289; trumpet i^ piano, 
Ex. 118, 288; trombone, Ex. 122, 805; voices, 849; 
incomplete harmony in vocal parts, Ex. 141, 867 ; 
Ex. 142 , 868; cymbals, Ex. I 48 , 892; tenor drum, 
897; triangle, Ex. 160, 897 
Orfeo, double-bass, 118; Ex. 46, 119; English horn, 
188; flute, 228; Ex. 98, 229; enharmonic relation, 

Gong, 898-896 

Guitar, 145-150; character, 145; tuning, 145; nota- 
tion, 145; fingering, 145; chords, 145-146; arpeg- 
gios, 146; rolls, 146-147; harmonics, 147 

Halew, J. F. E., La Juive, English horn. Ex. 69, 184 
Handel, G. Fr., instrumentation, II 
Harmonium, 408-401 

Harp, 137-144; harp in E^, 187-188; double-action 
harp, range, 188; pedals, 188-189; fingering, 
chords, 189-140; trills, 140; repetition, 140-141; 
character, 141 ; harmonics, 141 ; division, 141 ; syno- 
nyms, 141-144; bisbiglando, 144 

Haydn, Joseph, instrumentation, I, II 
Heckelclarina, 188 
Heckelphon, 188 

Instrumentation, 1-2 

Kettledrum, 370-385; tuning, 870-880; sticks, 880; 
pianissimo 880-885; muffled, 885; pedal kettle- 
drums, 888. 

Keyboard Harmonica, 891 

Liszt, Franz, instrumentation, II 
Dante Symphony, harp, Ex. 68, 142 
Tdazeppa, col legno. Ex. 6, 21; clarinet, 208; horn, 
260; Ex. 104 , 261 ; cymbals, 895 

Mahler, Gustav, clarinet, 206; birch rod, 870; percus- 
sion instruments, 899 

Mandolin, 151-182 

Marschner, Heinrich, Hans Heiling, double-bass, 112; 
Ex. 48, 118 

Mbhvl, E. N. 

Joseph, clarinet, 201; Ex. 79, 202 

Phrosme ef Milidore, stopped bom, 258; Ex. 108, 


Melodiom Organ, 408-405 

Meyerbeer, Giacoico, horn, 288 
Les Huguenots, viola d*amore, Ex. SO, 76; bassoon, 
Ex. 76, 192; bass clarinet. Ex, 90, 222; trumpet, 
282; bells. Ex. I 46 , 885 

Robert le Liable, viola, 68 ; bassoon, Ex. 74, 191 ; horn, 
285; comet. Ex. 117, 298; gong, 895; Ex. 1^9, 896 

Mozart, W. A., instrumentation, I, II 
Ave Vtrum Corpus, voice, 850; Ex. 186, 851 
La Clemenza di Tito, basset-horn, 226 

Cosi fan tutte, bassoon. Ex. 76, 194; clarinet. Ex. 89, 

Don Giovanni, donble-bass & trombone, Ex. 47, 128; 

mandolin. Ex. 66, 151; bassoon, 194; clarinet, 216 
Entfuehrung aus dem Serail, basset-horn, 226 
Nozze di Figaro, oboe, Ex. 58, 164; bassoon, 194 
Requiem, basset-bom, 226 
Serenade for IS wind instruments, basset-horn, 226 
String quartets, 182 

Zauberfloete, basset-hom, 226; trombone, Ex. 130, 
827; Glockenspiel, Ex. 147, 888; celesta, 891 

Oboe, 183-181; range, 168; trills, 168; difficult & easy 
keys, 164; character, 164-182; French & German 
instruments & style, 188; playing below clarinet, 

Baritone Oboe, 188 
Oboe d*amore, 188 

English born, 188-188; range, 188-184; character, 184 

Octohass, 405 

Ophideide, 887-888; bass ophicleide, 888; double-bass 
ophideide, 888 

Organ, 243-247; range 248; stops, 248-244; finger- 
ing, 244; character, 244-245 ; Rollscbweller Sc Vene- 
tian swell, 245, 246 

Percussion instruments, 870 

Pianoforte, 152-161; notation, 152; chords, 152; ped- 
als, 158; scales, 158; as orchestral instrument 
158-161; as solo instrument, 161; soft pedal, 161; 
prolongation, 404^.405 

Rossini, Gioacchino, GuSlaume Tell, violoncello, 96; 
horn, 258; accompanying the voice, 861; Ex. 
188, 862; vocal orchestra, Ex. I 40 , 866; bells, 885. 

Russian Bassoon, 848 v 

Saxhorn, 400 

Saxophone, 899-400 

Saxotromba, 401 

Saxtuba, 401 

Schumann, Robert, instrumentation, II 

Serpent, 848 

Spontini, Gasparo, VesidSe, viola, 67;' flute, 280; 
tipombone, Ex. 181, 828; hom, Ex. 189, 868; bass 
drum, 891 

Strauss, Rickard 

Deaik and Transfgmihn, bassoon. Ex. 78, 197 
Don QuixaUji ikOx (Fbttenmige), 228 

Sinfoim JiomaSca, vidio, SO; oboe d'amore, 188 
Till Euletupiegelj darioet in D, Eg. 81, SOS; rattle^ 

Zaratkuttn, bass taba, 97; double-bass, IIS 
String gionp, 18S-186 

Tamboorme, 896 

Tenoioan, 198 

Transposing instrmnents, 161-168 

Triangle, 897-899 

Trombone, donbling basses, 97; 298>330; alto trom- 
bone, 298; tenor trombone, 298; bass trombone, 
299; range, 299-800; trill, 802; donbling basses, 
802; character, 802-829; agiliij, 806; mates, 829; 
alto trombone with valves, 880 

Tnunpet, reinforcing violins, 68; 281-291; range, 281- 
282; trills, 282; different kejs, 282; piano, 288- 
286; character, 286-288; mated, 288-291 ; compari- 
son with comets & horns, 298-294 

Tnba 80; donbling basses, 802 ; 33(b335; range, 880; 
character, 881-886 
Bass Tnba, 97; 338^7 

Yeodi. Givsbvpe 

Falttaf, trumpet & trombone, 288 
Otello, doable-bass, 112; Eg, 48, 118; gnitar & man. 
dolin, 147; Eg. 64, 148; trumpet & trombone, 288 

Viola, reinforcing violins & ’cellos, 68; 60>74; toning 
& range, 60; trills, bowing, chords,- arpeggios, har- 
monics, 60; character, 60-78; division, 74; donbling 
'cellos, 74 

Viola alta, 74 

Viola d'amore, 76-76 

Viola do gamba, 76 

Violin, ^59; toning, 2; range, 2; trills, 2-6; double 
stops, chords, 6-8; doable trills, 8; tremolo, 8-19; 
snl pontkello, 12; bowing, 19l28; col legno, 21-28; 
harmonics, 28-82; motes, 82-84; pissicato, 84-41; 
divbion, 42-48; al-fresco style, 48-62; key charac- 
teristics, 64-66; character, 66-69; solo, 58-69 

Violoncello. 77*96; tnnii^ range, notation, 77; double 
stops, arpeggio, trUb, bowings 77; harmonics, 77- 
78; 'cello & bass, 78-80; character, 88-94; division, 
96; tremolo & arpeggio, 96; jdssbato, 96 

Violotta, 74 

WaoNfBR, RtcBAon 

fggil-Omertwn, bass tnba. Eg. 188 , 889 
Fliegnier HoUaender, horn, 260; Eg. Iffl, 278 

GoeUerdatmMruvg, darinet, 216; Eg, 87, 217; Ante 
227 ; trombone. Eg. 188, 822 
Lohengrin, wind instruments, II; vkdina, 66; viola, 68; 
Eg. 88, 66; harp, 144; Enj^iA horn, 188; Englidi 
hom. Ante, clarinet, 188; Ante, oboe, En^ish bom, 
Eg. 96, 282; men’s chorus, 870 
MeitUninger, muted violins, 84; pisiicato, 89; Eg. 
16, 41 ; Violin, 67; viola, 68; Eg. 84, 66; 'oeDo, Eg. 
84, 88 ; 86; Eg. S7', 88; string group, 182; Eg. 61, 
188; Eg. 78, 189; clarinet, 806; Eg. 88, 207; Eg. 
88, 220; Ante, 227; hom, 260; Eg. 108, 272; Eg. 
109, 276; Ex. 110, 277; trombone, 802; Eg. 180, 
808; Eg. 181, 804 

Opera and Drama, devdopment of orchestra, I 
Pareifal, darinet, 210; bdls, 887 
BheingtAd, pixsicsto, 89; Ex. 14, 40; vidin, 48; solo 
violin. Ex. 80, 68; harp, 144; hom, 260; Eg. 108, 
276; Ex. Ill, 279; cyi^al, '896 

. Bing dee NS>elungen, instrnmentation, II 
Siegfried, violin trill, 2; Ex. I, 8; col legno, 21; Eg. 
7, 24; violin, 66; Ex. 19, 66; viola, 67; Eg. 86, 68; 
oboe. Ex. 77, 196 ; bom, 260 ; Eg. 105, 266 ; Eg. 118, 
280; bass tuba, 889; Eg. 184, 840; triai^e, 899 
Siegfried Idyll, instrumentation, II ; string group, 182 
Tannhaeuier, viola. Ex. 88, 68; 'cello, 88; Eg. 86, 84; 
harp, 140; oboe. Ex. 83, 176; oboe & clarinet. Ex. 
86, 218; bass darinet, 228; Ante, 888; trombone. 
Ex. 184, 814; bass tuba, Ex. 186, 844 
Trietan, tremolo sol ponticdlo. Eg. 6,17; mated violin, 
84; piszicato. Eg. IS, 89; 1st & 2nd violins, 67; 
viola, Ex. 87, 71; 'cello. Ex. 81, 86; Ex. 88, 90; 
'cdlo, viola & horn. Ex. 89, 92; doable-boss, 112; 
Ex. 44, 118; d.-b. pizzicato. Eg. 60, 182; string 
quintet. Ex. 68, 186; harp, 144; English hom, 184; 
Heckeldarina, 188; bassoon, 190; bass clarinet 
828; bass darinet & bassoon, Ex. 98, 226; Ante, 
288; Ex. 96, 284; piccolo. Ex. 100, 289; hom, 260; 
trumpet, 288; trombone, 814; Eg. 186, 815; Ex. 
188, 818; Eg. W, 820 

Walkuere, violin tremolo. Ex. 8, 8; Ex. 3, 11; al- 
fresco style, 48; Ex. 16, 44; Eg. 18, 66; vida 8t 
bass darinet, Ex. 86, 67; 'cello, 90; donUe-^, 
Ex. 41, 98; distribution of mdody nmnwg several 
instruments. Ex. 64, 176; darinet in D, 206; clari- 
net, Ex. 88, 209; Ante, 227; 288; Ex. 97, 886; trum- 
pet, 288; trumpet & wood-wind, 296; Ex. 118, 297; 
tuba, 880; Ex, 188, 881; kettledrum, 886 

Webeb, C. M. tow, n 
Euryanthe, bassoon, 197; hom, 268 
Freieekuetx, viola, 71; viola 8c cello, Ex. 88, 80; 
double-bass pizzicato, 188; darinet, 810; Eg. 84, 
211; Ante, 280; 286; picedo, 289; hom, 866; 868; 
solo vida, 866; enharmonic rdatkms, 866 
Oberon, 'cello 8c darinet. Ex. 88; 88; hom, 868 
Preeiaea, triangle, 897 

Wood-wind group, 189 (footnote) ; 198